Assemblyman Jones: Putting a Stop to Independent Mausoleums Protects North Country Families, Taxpayers

June 13, 2018

Assemblyman Billy Jones (D-Chateaugay) announced that his legislation to place a moratorium on independent mausoleums and columbariums passed the Assembly (A.5784-B).

“Mausoleums can be a beautiful way to lay a loved one to rest,” Jones said. “But we’ve seen too many standalone, independently operated mausoleums in the North Country become abandoned and fall into disrepair, putting an emotional strain on families and a financial strain on the community.”

This is an issue that’s caused concerns for Jones and his constituents. Two free-standing mausoleums in Plattsburgh and Ellenburg built by Whispering Maples have been declared abandoned.[1] The back wall remains incomplete in Plattsburgh and the roof has disintegrated in Ellenburg.[2] The state has placed both sites under temporary receivership, but the towns will take them over after repairs are made. The expensive maintenance these buildings require places an unfair burden on local taxpayers, Jones noted.

After hearing the concerns of local residents, Jones authored legislation to prohibit the construction of standalone mausoleums or columbariums, which, unlike cemeteries with a number of interment options, expose municipalities to financial hardships if they are abandoned.

“Families pay a premium to choose a final resting place that feels right,” Jones said. “It’s unacceptable that these businesses take their money and then let the building fall apart while forcing the community to bear the burden. My legislation helps put a stop to this regrettable practice.”

With the passage of this bill in the Assembly, the bill is now delivered to the Senate where it is currently on third reading. Assemblyman Jones is looking forward to its Senate passage and its eventual signage into law.