Democratic Caucus of the Monroe County Legislature

Democrats Demand Reforms to Indigent Burial Program

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Rochester, New York – September 21, 2012.  Democrats in the Monroe County Legislature today discussed legislation to reform the indigent burial program, which has been the subject of controversy. The legislation will establish the minimum standards under which final arrangements can be made for a decedent by requiring cemeteries and funeral homes contracting with the county to meet certain standards in order to receive payment. Democrats were joined by representatives from the Greater Rochester Community of Churches (GRCC) and the House of Mercy, both of whom support reforming the burial program.

Democratic Legislator Cindy Kaleh (D-Rochester), the sponsor of the proposal, said, “This legislation is an important step in restoring trust that this County can treat even its most vulnerable citizens with the dignity and respect that they deserve. Not only will this legislation provide clear standards, but it will also ensure that cemeteries and funeral homes dealing with the county must keep their grounds and decedent graves in reasonable condition.”

Among the many reforms contained in the Democratic Legislation are requirements that the Monroe County Human Services Commissioner ensure that cemeteries and funeral homes contracting with the County make every effort to maintain their grounds equitably for all plots, including proper drainage, lawn care, marker maintenance and visibility.

"Monroe County is a forward thinking community, and the last thing we want to be known for is moving backwards," said Minority Leader Ted O'Brien. "Our focus should be on improving the economy and attracting new jobs to our region, not politicizing the right to a dignified burial. At minimal cost, this program assures families throughout the county that loved ones who pass on will be attended to with the respect they deserve."

 The proposal will be considered during the meeting of the Legislature’s Agenda Charter Committee on Monday September 24 at 5:00pm.