State Takes Control of Davenport Cemetery
The state of Iowa has stepped in to save a Davenport cemetery with financial problems. The Iowa Insurance Division has been appointed receiver of the Fairmount Cemetery, and has chosen another cemetery in the city, Pine Hill, to manage it.
Carvel Morgan has been superintendent of Pine Hill for 30 years, and says he and his staff should be able to handle this additional responsibility.
"We've got 120 days, four months, to work with the state and figure out the income stream and expenses and all that stuff. Long-term goal is that we can make it work permanently and there's options for extensions in there if the need arises."
In recent months, the board of directors of Fairmount Cemetery had been dissolved, and with no employees, some volunteers had stepped forward to try to maintain its 150 acres.
"It really comes down to management of finances. Obviously you have to have an income to cover your expenses and you have to live within your means. And when interest rates go down and you can't get the interest off the trust accounts, that doesn't provide enough income to cover all the expenses so you have to generate income from other resources."
Morgan has already hired four additional seasonal workers to take care of Fairmount because he says "curb appeal," how it looks and is maintained, is important for the financial health of a cemetery.
Cemeteries in Iowa are regulated by the state Insurance Division.