Lake Worth Beach losing money on cemeteries

Published: Jan. 20, 2022 at 10:21 PM EST
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The City of Lake Worth Beach has two historic cemeteries, Pine Crest and IA Banks.

City Commissioner Sarah Malega said the city loses money annually operating the locations. The commissioner said the situation is so dire that the city doesn't have money to pay for improvements.

"With the cost of having personnel that oversees the cemeteries grounds and the cost of having our city clerk handle the burial situations, we lose about $380,000 a year between the two cemeteries," she said.

Malega is looking to fix that, and said selling the cemeteries would be the pivotal point.

"So, the bottom line is, we need to find a company that knows how to do this," she said. That is in the funeral business, the cemetery business, and can service the families the way they need to be served."

Lake Worth Beach resident Sam Goodstein said he has a plot in Pine Crest and has family buried there already.

"My mom, my dad, one of my grandmas, grandpas, several cousins, an uncle, an aunt, and no, both my grandmas," he said.

In total, Goodstein has 11 family members in Pine Crest cemetery. At least once a month he walks the grounds.

"It means a resting place where we're together and as a family. A place we can visit," he said.

Goodstein said both cemeteries need improved upkeep. He said it's frustrating to hear Lake Worth Beach is losing money on their cemeteries.

"What goes through my mind is $380,000 a year is more than the penny sales tax brings the city," he said.

Malega said it all comes down to dollars and cents and said it makes sense for the City of Lake Worth Beach to move on from operating the cemeteries.

She said she is in the process of gathering information about companies that run cemeteries and plans to bring her findings to her fellow commissioners to see if they support selling the cemeteries.

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