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MARBLE FALLS — After a lengthy discussion during their regular meeting May 5, the Marble Falls Parks and Recreation Commissioners voted to increase the plot fees at the city cemetery.

Now, the measure will be sent to the city council for its approval.

Commissioners voted 4-1 to recommend to council an immediate increase for cemetery fees to $1,200 with a hardship application and a payment-plan option.

Currently, the fee is $600.

Originally, the commissioners discussed increasing the fee each year by $300 until it reaches $1,200.

“We’ll make a it a two- or three-year plan,” chairman David Rhodes said, “and add a hardship.”

“And a payment plan,” Commissioner Leta Stevenson-Smith said. “Present both. If you’re going to raise it, give people a payment plan, give people a chance.”

“What I would suggest is this,” Marble Falls Parks and Recreation Director Robert Moss said. “If you’re going to raise the fees to this, give a hardship option and a payment-plan option with no detail on how to do it. If the council agrees, I’m sure it’ll come back to you.”

Moss added he didn’t believe it would prompt that many people to immediately buy plots with the council being asked to approve a rate increase.

Commissioner Steve Manley asked what happens if a family defaults on a payment?

Rhodes said city hall would address it the same way it does if a resident defaults on paying a utility bill. Eventually, the government collects, he said.

Manley gave the motion to recommend the $1,200 fee with a hardship application only.

“And a payment plan,” Stevenson-Smith said.

“I think the payment plan is loco,” Manley said.

“You have to think about everyone who can’t afford it,” she said.

“You have the hardship,” he said. “Do you really need to hand staff (more to do)?”

“That’s for council and staff to discuss,” Rhodes said. “That’s up to council to decide to add the payment thing.”

That’s when Manley added a payment plan to his motion, which Stevenson-Smith seconded.

Manley was the only dissent.

The commissioners also:

  • approved a revised Park, Recreation and Open Space Master Plan Priority list to be presented to council;
  • discussed other uses for the city pool, including a scuba class and using it as a fishing pond;
  • were told the council and staff budget retreat is June 10 for the 2014-2015 budget. Rhodes said he planned to attend and invited other commissioners to attend, too;
  • and were told the water slide was installed at the city pool.