Rules & Regulations
Section I: General
These Rules and Regulations shall apply to the Somerset Cemetery, owned and operated by the City of Somerset, and located in the corporate limits of the City of Somerset, Kentucky. These Rules and Regulations shall become a part of each Deed of Conveyance by reference.
1. Burial Permit: A legal document issued by a local authority authorizing final disposition of human remains.
2. Cemetery: A place dedicated to and used, or intended to be used, for the final disposition and memorialization of human remains. For the purpose of these regulations, the Cemetery refers only to the Somerset Cemetery.
3. Cemetery Manager: The person or persons, employed by the City of Somerset, in charge of all administrative and record-keeping functions and duties related to interment space sales and deed recording and logging of the interment registry.
4. Columbarium: A structure, room, or space in a building or structure used, or intended to be used, for the inurnment of cremated remains.
5. Cremated Remains: The bone fragments remaining after the cremation process, which may include the residue of any foreign materials that were cremated with the human remains. Usually processed, after removal of metallic parts of caskets and prosthetics, by crushing or grinding to achieve a uniform consistency.
6. Cremated Remains Container: A receptacle in which cremated remains are placed after cremation.
7. Cremation: The irreversible process of reducing human remains to bone fragments through intense heat and evaporation in a specifically designed furnace or retort which may include any other mechanical or thermal process whereby the bone fragments are pulverized or otherwise further reduced in size or volume. Cremation is a process and is not final disposition.
8. Crypt: A concrete enclosure for interment. Mausoleum crypts are generally above ground and in buildings. Crypts in garden mausoleums also are usually above ground but are open to the outside rather than being in an enclosed building.
9. Death Certificate: A legal document containing vital statistics pertaining to the life and death of the deceased. Must be accepted and filed with the proper agency before a burial permit is issued.
10. Deed: A document conveying a right of interment in specific Cemetery property. Usually doesn’t convey any fee ownership.
11. Disinterment: The removal of human remains that have been interred.
12. Entombment: The act of placing human remains in a crypt.
13. Funeral Director: A person who manages a mortuary.
14. Funeral: The ceremony held commemorating the deceased with the remains present.
15. Grave Space: A space of ground in a Cemetery that is used or intended to be used for ground burial.
1. Final disposition by burial in ground, entombment in a mausoleum, placement of cremated remains in a niche (inurnment) or scattering of remains in designated areas.
2. The process of making an interment, including all administrative, clerical, legal, and mechanical services performed by the Cemetery authority in conjunction with the opening of an interment space and closing of the interment space after the remains have been placed in the space.
17. Interment Space: A space intended for the final disposition of human remains, including, but not limited to, a grave space, mausoleum crypt, garden crypt, columbarium, and lawn crypt.
18. Inurnment: The act of putting cremated remains in an urn and placing the urn in a niche.
19. Memorial: The physical identification of an interment space. Generally has at least the name, date of birth, and date of death of the deceased and may include an epitaph or commemoration of the life, deeds, or career of the deceased person. These may be in the form of bronze or granite tablets flush with the ground, upright monuments, individual cut out bronze letters applied to the front of a mausoleum crypt, statuary, benches, or other artwork or architectural features. Other terms that might be used are memorial tablet (flush bronze memorial), marker, headstone, crypt plate, or garden plaque.
20. Monument: An upright memorial, also known as a tombstone or headstone, also includes large structures like obelisks, usually made from granite.
21. Niche: A space within a columbarium used or intended to be used for inurnment or cremated remains.
22. Rules and Regulations: Rules adopted by a Cemetery to govern uses, care, control and management as well as other restrictions deemed necessary by the governing board for protection of the Cemetery.
23. Urn: A receptacle for cremated remains. Should not be confused with an alternative container or cremation container.
24. Vault: A required container for all grave burials which is designed for placement in the grave space around the casket, including, but not limited to, containers commonly known as burial containers, grave boxes, grave liners, and vaults.
25. Wall Crypt: An outdoor mausoleum. Sometimes called “wall crypts” because of the configuration of the crypts and to avoid confusion with indoor mausoleum. Also see mausoleum.
B. General Rules and Authority:
1. Statutes and administrative regulations of the Commonwealth of Kentucky
regarding the utilization, operations, public’s use and public’s responsibilities of the cemeteries shall apply and prevail to and over these regulations should conflicts occur. The City of Somerset shall also be compelled to comply with any and all regulations of the Federal Trade Commission pertaining to the sale and transfer of Cemetery interment spaces.
2. The City of Somerset shall establish prices for burial services and unsold interment spaces, including in-ground burial lots, ground crypts, remains vaults/containers, scattering areas and mausoleum crypts and implement rules for the welfare and proper operation of the Cemetery. Prices for interment and burial services may vary from time to time with the appropriate approval of the Executive Authority and/or City Council of the City of Somerset.
3. The person in charge of the Cemetery, referred to as the Cemetery Sexton or Manager, shall be under the supervision of the Mayor, and/or his delegates, and shall supervise all persons visiting the Cemetery, oversee the conduct of funerals and attending traffic, and be responsible for the courteous and efficient performance of all assigned duties as set forth herein.
4. The City of Somerset may promulgate by Executive Order, and/or by Council action, such additional rules and regulations concerning the care, use, operation and maintenance of the Cemetery as it shall deem necessary. The City may determine it necessary to direct and publish a booklet of Rules and Regulations for the convenience of the purchasers of interment space in the Cemetery. Such Rules and Regulations shall constitute a part of the terms and conditions under which owners and users may utilize the Cemetery.
5. These regulations are intended to provide a comprehensive means for the use and operation of the City of Somerset Cemetery, and the individual sections of these Rules and Regulations shall serve in totality. Should there be conflicts of use or operation in individual sections of these Rules and Regulations, the more restrictive standard shall prevail as interpreted by the Cemetery Manager or the Mayor.
6. Questions, clarifications and interpretations of the Rules and Regulations shall be referred to the City Attorney. Should a decision or interpretation be contested, only the City Attorney and the Mayor may make a final determination, and shall also determine if the Cemetery Rules and Regulations shall be modified as a result of the contested matter.
Section II: Rules of Operation and Procedures
A. USE OF LOTS
Unless expressly stated otherwise, each purchase of interment rights is for one human body per single grave space.
Lot owners or their legal representatives are asked to designate in writing to Cemetery management or by will who should and should not be buried in the owner’s lot. Such designations can be changed by subsequent owners.
Upon a lot owner’s death, if no express instructions have been left, the right of burial is transferred to the owner’s descendants and/or heirs.
B. PRIVATE SALES AND TRANSFERS OF LOTS
In order to ensure that Cemetery records are accurate; a lot owner should notify Cemetery management if he or she privately sells a lot or any portion of a lot.
Deeds for Cemetery lots may be transferred to a new owner by a deed of transfer, available in the Cemetery office. The deed must be signed by the seller, and a copy of these records must be kept by the Cemetery office.
At Cemetery management’s discretion, the Cemetery may repurchase any unused lot or portion of a lot from a lot owner at half of the current purchase price.
C. RESPONSIBILITIES OF LOT OWNERS
Lot owners are responsible for notifying Cemetery management of any changes in their contact information.
It is the responsibility of lot owners or descendants/heirs of lot owners to notify Cemetery management of transfers of ownership and/or of remaining burial rights.
Only companies approved by Cemetery management are authorized to conduct opening and closing procedures, including full burials and burial of cremated remains. Individual parties may not bury cremated remains in the cemetery without prior permission from management.
Notice of the need to open a grave must be given to Cemetery management at least eight working hours in advance. Whenever possible, information indicating the lot and the particular grave site to be opened should be given to Cemetery management by the funeral home, lot owner, or family members.
For record-keeping purposes, a burial permit including the name, address, and age of the person to be interred in the Cemetery must be delivered to the Cemetery office before an interment is made.
Grave openings made in error due to misguided instruction from a funeral home, lot owner, or family member will result in an additional fee charged to the responsible party.
E. BURIAL OF CREMAINS
The Cemetery offers a limited number of grave spaces for 1-2 cremation burials at a reduced rate.
More cremation burials are permitted per full size space, provided there are no vault burials existing in that space.
Two cremation interments are permitted over a grave space containing a vault.
Regardless of how many individuals’ remains are buried in one grave space, only one headstone per space is permitted. A footstone in memory of a cremated individual may be added to a grave space where a headstone already exists.
Scattering of ashes in the Cemetery is not permitted.
Disinterment fees are the responsibility of the disinterment applicant. No cost shall be paid by the Cemetery unless the disinterment comes as a result of Cemetery management error in which case the City will review the matter and determine the responsible party regarding the fee and costs of disinterment.
No disinterment of a body or of cremated remains will be permitted without the written consent of a personal representative of the deceased unless the order for disinterment is made by an authorized public official.
Disinterments must be conducted as required by all applicable local, state, federal, and administrative law.
Cemetery management has the right to correct any errors made during interment or disinterment, or in the transfer or sale of grave lots. Errors may be corrected by, but not limited to: Substituting other interment rights of equal value and similar location; disinterment/re-interment of remains to the correct burial lot; or issuing a new, corrected deed to the owner and voiding the incorrect deed.
All pricing is subject to change. Please make sure you have the most up-to-date price list. Prices below are current as of June 2023.
-Single grave in sections 20-38, 10W, 12W, 14W and any future sections: $800
-Single grave in section 1-19: $900
-Cremation spaces for 1-3 cremation burials available in limited areas: $400
-Cremation spaces for 4 or more cremation burials: $800
-Grave space for infant/child up to age 17: Free
-Cornerstones, set of 4: Available upon request, price determined by current quote from vendor.
-Open/close grave with or without tent/chairs: $600
-Open/close fee for cremation burial, no tent/chairs/table: $75
-Open/close for cremation burial with tent/chairs/table: $125
-Open/close grave for infant/child up to age 17: Free
-Disinterments: Dependent on quote from vault company and funeral director
I. PAYMENT FOR LOTS AND SERVICES
All service charges are due and payable prior to any interment or disinterment.
Upon purchase of grave spaces, a minimum $50 payment is required up front. Cemetery management requests that individuals making payments on grave spaces pay at least $50 per month, or whatever amount is set forth in any promissory note signed by the parties, until the entire balance has been paid in full.
If an individual neglects to make payments on his/her account for a period of no less than 120 days, or other period as may be determined by the City if no promissory note exists between the parties, or for whatever time period is set forth in a promissory note signed by the parties, the rights and interests of that individual may be forfeited and procedures may be taken to authorize the resale of the grave space(s) and the account sent to the City’s Collections Department. The Cemetery may retain previously-made payments toward the purchase of such property as damages unless stated otherwise in a promissory note signed by the parties.
All payments should be made to the City of Somerset Cemetery and mailed to:
P.O. Box 1506
Somerset, KY, 42502.
Upon payment in full, a Deed of Conveyance/Certificate of Ownership will be issued to the owner and signed by both parties.
J. RECLAMATION OF INTERMENT RIGHTS
Concerning previously-purchased grave spaces which have remained unused for a long period of time, the Somerset Cemetery may, after a good faith attempt to identify the owner or any heirs of the owner, file an action in Pulaski County Circuit Court requesting that the burial rights in the unused portion of those lots be deemed abandoned and that the Cemetery be authorized to sell the rights.
K. RIGHT TO WORK ON LOTS
Cemetery management reserves the right to cross over and/or place equipment upon any properties within the Cemetery and to temporarily move any stone or decoration as deemed necessary to accomplish duties associated with services provided. Anything moved will be placed back in its original position as quickly as possible.
Cemetery personnel will raise to ground level any footstones or cornerstones (any stones which are meant to be flush to the ground) which have sunken into the ground at no cost to lot owners.
No work is to be performed in the Cemetery except with permission of Cemetery management.
Any person who causes damage within the Cemetery while performing work there will be held liable for the damage.
Cemetery management must approve the planting, transplanting, cutting down or destruction of any trees or shrubs situated on any lot. Cemetery management can help individuals determine what trees or shrubs can be used in the available area and help with spacing.
No flowers, evergreens or any other living plants on any lot should be removed, damaged, or destroyed unless such action is taken by the lot owners or Cemetery management.
If a shrub or tree on a lot becomes overgrown, unsightly or dead, it may be removed by Cemetery management at the lot owner’s expense.
Cemetery management will always attempt to avoid permanent damage or destruction to any tree, shrub or herbage, but disclaims all liability or responsibility for the replacement or cost of any plants destroyed due to necessary work procedures.
Grave spaces will be sodded or seeded by Cemetery staff at no cost to the grave space owners.
All interments in the Somerset Cemetery must include the use of a non-degradable burial container (vault) which will withstand normal pressure from static and dynamic loading of earth pressure in addition to loadings exerted by operations and maintenance equipment for at least 50 years.
All remains entombed in mausoleums must be embalmed.
All mausoleums must be approved by Cemetery management. Foundations for mausoleums must be contracted through the monument company placing the order for the mausoleum.
If any mausoleum becomes unsightly, dilapidated or unsafe, Cemetery management reserves the right to either correct the condition or remove the mausoleum at the expense of the lot owner.
Installation of foundations for headstones is the responsibility of a monument company which has been approved by Cemetery management.
Gravesites must be paid for in full before any foundation can be poured.
All monuments, foot markers, mausoleums, benches or other large objects used as headstones must have a poured foundation.
Foundations must be between 12 inches (for small or flat markers) and 36 inches deep (for larger, upright markers), and should span the full width of the marker or monument.
Temporary weatherproof markers may be placed on graves, but the Cemetery cannot be responsible for their damage or loss.
If a funeral home does not provide a temporary marker immediately following a burial, the Cemetery will provide a temporary marker until a permanent headstone can be erected. The temporary marker is the property of the Cemetery, and must be returned to the Cemetery when it is no longer needed.
Only one headstone/large marker is permitted per burial space.
All monument company representatives are asked to contact Cemetery management before pouring foundations or installing headstones on any lot in the Cemetery to help ensure proper placement and to ensure that requirements are being met.
Should any headstone become unsightly, dilapidated, or a menace to visitors, the Cemetery shall have the right to correct the condition at the expense of the lot owner.
The Cemetery is not responsible for any damage to monuments or markers. Owners of headstones should check with their insurance agent to see whether their monument is included in or can be added to their homeowner’s insurance policy.
No monument or marker shall be removed from the Cemetery except by the Cemetery unless the written order of the plot owners is presented to Cemetery management.
Some stones in the Somerset Cemetery are in need of repair, but there are no surviving lot owners. If you would like to learn more about helping to preserve these stones, please contact the Cemetery office.
The United States government provides headstones and markers for the graves of veterans and eligible dependents which are not already marked. Various styles are available to mark the grave of a veteran or dependent in a style consistent with existing monuments at the place of burial. For information, see the Department of Veterans Affairs website for the National Cemetery System at www.cem.va.gov.
R. HOURS OF OPERATION
The Cemetery grounds are open for visitors from dawn to dusk, 365 days a year.
Cemetery office hours are Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m. The office is closed on holidays, except Memorial Day. It is strongly recommended that individuals who need to do business at the office make an appointment to ensure that management will be available when you arrive. Call (606) 679-3473 to make an appointment.
Any entry upon the Cemetery property after dark, without prior permission from Cemetery management, will be considered trespassing.
The Cemetery reserves the right to prohibit entrance to the Cemetery by the public at times when the safety of visitors and/or preservation of the Cemetery is threatened by bad weather or similar factors.
According to KRS 525.115, a person is guilty of violating graves when he or she intentionally: Mutilates the graves, monuments, fences, shrubbery, ornaments, grounds, or buildings in or enclosing any Cemetery or place of sepulture; or violates the grave of any person by destroying, removing, or damaging the headstone or footstone, or the tomb over the enclosure protecting any grave; or digs into or plows over or removes any ornament, shrubbery, or flower placed on any grave or lot. Violating graves is a Class D felony and the City will seek restitution upon conviction or a pleading of such an offense.
Any person guilty of and/or convicted of intentionally causing damages in the Somerset Cemetery may be held responsible for the costs associated with the repair or replacement of the items damaged.
It is requested that visitors to the Cemetery be decently clothed, and that they refrain from parties and sports activities of any kind on the grounds.
Alcoholic beverages are forbidden.
No bicycles, skateboards, rollerblades, or skates are allowed in the Cemetery.
No loud talking, music or other noise shall be permitted on the Cemetery grounds within hearing distance of other visitors and/or during a funeral service.
All work being performed in the Cemetery must cease while a funeral or interment is taking place.
Visitors are asked to refrain from applying flour, shaving cream and similar substances to headstones. Gravestone rubbings are also not recommended on our older monuments. Most cleaners containing chemicals are not recommended for use in any Cemetery. If you need assistance reading a headstone or if you need to have a headstone properly cleaned, please contact Cemetery management.
For your personal safety, please do not lean on or climb on any headstones.
As much as possible, visitors should keep roadways open for other visitors and employees. The Cemetery’s roadways are narrow, having been originally designed for horses and buggies, so patience and courtesy is appreciated when navigating the Cemetery while other vehicles are present.
Please keep vehicles off the grass, and especially off occupied grave spaces, as much as possible.
Please pay attention to any directional signs in the Cemetery. These signs will help you navigate the Cemetery without causing damage to Cemetery property, headstones, or to your own vehicle. The cemetery is not responsible for damage to vehicles that is incurred while on cemetery grounds.
Drivers in the Cemetery are asked to stop and wait until a funeral procession passes before continuing forward.
Do not leave your vehicle unattended while you leave the Cemetery grounds. Vehicles left in the Cemetery without owners on the grounds will be towed.
All pets must be kept on leashes at all times. Pet owners must clean up any pet messes.
No littering is allowed. Trash containers are available throughout the Cemetery grounds.
Visitors are strongly encouraged to place decorations so that they will not inhibit mowing or other maintenance activities, and to secure decorations so that they won’t be displaced by the wind.
In order to deter theft and to help ensure your decorations can be returned to their proper graves if they become displaced, it is suggested that you write on or attach your name to any decorations you leave.
To help with mowing and weedeating, trellises, fences, walls, posts, chains, curbs or anything similar may not be placed around or upon any lot of part of a lot.
Mulch and small rocks are not allowed on lots because they may result in injury to Cemetery workers or visitors.
Glass, ceramic or other breakable items are not allowed as grave decorations due to safety concerns. Any glass items found in the Cemetery will be disposed of by Cemetery management.
When artificial flowers, flags, or other decorations are left over a period of time and they become faded or deteriorated, Cemetery management retains the right to remove them from the gravesite.
The Cemetery is not responsible for broken, damaged or missing decorations.
Please do not leave burning memorial candles or oil lanterns unattended.
Y. CEMETERY RECORDS
Cemetery management is constantly striving to obtain the most complete database of information about the individuals buried in the Somerset Cemetery as possible. With well over 11,000 individuals buried here as of 2019, this is a rather daunting task. If you have information about any of the individuals buried in the Cemetery which might be helpful in our record-keeping, please contact the Cemetery office at (606) 679-3473. Please note that all deeds/certificates of ownership, records of transfer, maps, and historical documents are kept at the Cemetery Office, not at City Hall or in the City Clerk’s possession.
Z. DONATIONS & VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES
The Cemetery welcomes donations from owners, or survivors of owners, of each grave space to help pay for general maintenance and care of the grave spaces and public areas of the Cemetery.
The Cemetery operates on a limited budget, separate from other city funds. Donations are always appreciated, and will be used specifically for Cemetery maintenance and upkeep, ongoing projects, or special projects. If you would like to make a donation, please contact the Cemetery Office to discuss how your donation will be applied to areas in most need, or to specifically designate where and how you would prefer your donation be used.
Occasional fundraisers and fundraising events may be held to benefit the Cemetery as well. If you would like to stay informed about such opportunities, please be sure the Cemetery office has your name and correct mailing address. You may also visit the City of Somerset’s website at www.cityofsomerset.com or follow the Cemetery on Facebook for the most up-to-date information.
All donations made to the Somerset Cemetery are tax deductible.
Please contact the Cemetery office if you are interested in learning about volunteer opportunities available at the Cemetery. We are always welcoming to responsible individuals or groups who would be willing to assist in projects such as Cemetery mapping, research, and clean-ups.
Any issues not specifically covered in these rules and regulations, or any exceptions to these rules and regulations, must be addressed by Cemetery management, with approval of the Mayor or his designated official.