A Sarasota, Florida cemetery was warned by county officials to bring the grounds up to code or be fined. Recent reports had described overgrown grass and weeds at Sarasota Memorial Park; however, after a news article appeared, workers were seen mowing the lawn, weeding, and edging around tombstones.
WTSP 10 News recently published a story, “Protecting your loved ones last resting place,” which reported on the problems discovered during Memorial Day weekend. Residents walking their dog nearby noticed the overgrown cemetery. They complained to the property manager and filed a complaint with the county’s code enforcement department about the tall grass and trees on the graves.
The dog walkers even called on volunteers to mow Sarasota Memorial Park. They mowed a section one morning until they were told to leave. However, their complaint to the County Code Enforcement Department resulted in a warning to the cemetery property owners. They were ordered to clean up the cemetery or face a notice of violation and fines.
Cemetery maintenance is contractual, and it’s expected when you pay for a plot. But a contract is only as good as the company behind it. Like anything else you purchase, you need to look carefully when making a decision about a burial plot.
Research the reputation of the cemetery you’re considering. Remember: just because the cemetery looks good now—like Sarasota Memorial Park—doesn’t mean it will stay beautiful forever. Prior to making a plot purchase, ask how much is in the endowment trust fund.
In Florida, state law dictates that 10% of the purchase price be placed in a trust fund for maintenance of the property, which is monitored by the state. Also, Florida State Statue §497.262 says that cemeteries are required to be “well cared for and maintained in a proper and dignified condition.”
Be selective, and keep a digital record of the cemetery's conditions—take a photo of it the day you buy a plot and any time you visit in the event you need to file a complaint.
Reference: WTSP 10 News (June 27, 2016) “Protecting your loved ones last resting place”