With a reduced budget this fiscal year, mayors are now looking at other means to pay for much-needed services and programs at their communities and one option that they are looking at is to charge fees for funeral escort and other services.
For several consecutive legislative cycles, the Mayors Council of Guam has been submitting a user fee schedule for approval.
The user fee schedule sets a rate for the use of equipment as well as community and recreational facilities under the jurisdiction of the mayors and that list includes community and senior centers and parks.
The plan was revived this fiscal year as a possible source of funding for the repair and maintenance of the facilities and equipment at the different villages.
But this time, the expanded user fee schedule also includes payment for copying services for documents requested at the mayors’ offices and also fees for funeral escort services.
At the Mayors Council of Guam meeting this week, the mayors agreed to move forward with the process, starting with the formation of a committee to develop the rate plan.
Angel Sablan, MCOG executive director, said: “We are going to resurrect the user fee that we have and update it — to include the funeral escort… as a possibility…to include copying services for all of these forms your residents require of you — mayors verification — things like that …ALL the other agencies are already charging fees to providing documents to other agencies. We are going to put it in there.”
The funeral escort fees will also be included in the user fee schedule. But a policy would have to be developed by the council to set the guidelines for the services. At the meeting, the council formed the committee for this purpose.
Melissa Savares, MCOG president, said: “We are kinda mirroring what Guam Police has with their $47 dollars/per hour minimum of two hours. We have a committee coming together — put together — to review that and of course we have discussions with the funeral homes but that will come into place. It is a fee schedule that has to be approved by the legislature.”
Once the committee finalizes the draft of the funeral escort policy and user fee schedule, the draft would have to be approved by the council then submitted to the Legislature where it would have to go through public hearings in compliance with the Triple A process.