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Oxford approves new niche sales

Having a hard time finding that perfect Christmas gift that says, “I want to be with you for eternity” for that special someone?

The city of Oxford may just have the answer.

In less than 30 days, residents can purchase a new burial niche in the Oxford Memorial Cemetery.

The Oxford Board of Aldermen approved Tuesday an ordinance amendment that allows for the sale of niches in the recently built columbarium.

The sale of the niches will help provide funds for maintaining the cemetery that is quickly running out of room for new gravesites.

Construction began on the columbarium earlier this year. There are close to 800, 12-inch by 12-inch by 18-inch niches that could fit six smaller urns. The ordinance limited families from purchasing more than six niches; however, there will be no limit on how many urns can fit into the niche.

The aldermen have not yet adopted prices for the urns, but Public Works Director Bart Robinson said the proposed prices range from $1,500 to $3,200, depending on the location in the columbarium.

“People who want one at eye level will pay more,” he said last week.

Ownership of the niches will be recorded with the Lafayette County Chancery Clerk. Once a niche is purchased, future transfers of ownership will be allowed but not by the city of Oxford.

If an owner sells their niche, it would solely be up to an attorney to transfer the property and the new owner is responsible for purchasing a new marker plate.

City staff would approve the marker; however, a family can decide what they want to put on the marker as long as it’s not vulgar or obscene and “fits in the spirit of the cemetery.”

Funeral home directors will be required to contact the city to schedule interment within the columbarium. A minimum of 36 hours notice is required. Proof of ownership will be required before interment and services are recommended to take place from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday-Friday if possible. Otherwise there is a $50 per hour fee for services after 3:30 p.m. and on weekends, with a minimum of two hours.

No niches will be opened and closed except under the direction and control of city personnel and a court order will be required to remove the remains after internment.

For more information, contact the Public Works Department at 662-236-2306.

In other business Tuesday, the board:

— Approved all items on the consent agenda

— Adopted a resolution directing the issuance of $6,750,000 general obligation refunding bonds for a lower interest rate that is expected to save the city about $25,000 a year for a total of about $250,000.

— Heard the first reading of an ordinance amendment allowing for the sale of alcohol at the new YAC pavilion, the former National Guard armory.

— Approved placing five parking meters on the east side of the public parking lot between Van Buren Avenue and Harrison Avenue.

— Heard the second reading and held a public hearing on adding Two-Unit Residential to the Landscaping Ordinance that was inadvertently left out. There was no public comment.

— Heard the second reading and held a public hearing on an ordinance allowing storm water structures in a front yard on a case-by-case bases with plans from a license