Due to an increase in cremation costs for funeral homes in Holmes County, the cost for the county to bury and cremate indigent people-meaning they could not afford basic life necessities-by $350.
The Holmes County Board of County Commissioners unanimously approved the increase after County Project Director David Corbin brought the matter up during a meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 7.
The increase is effective immediately. The county will now pay $750, having previously paid $400.
Holmes County generally has four indigent people at most who die in a given year, though Corbin said there have been three people in the past two weeks.
‘What’s happening, apparently, is we’re getting people in this county that nobody wants them after they die,’ County Commissioner Clint Erickson said. ‘Usually what happens is some kind of bad thing they’re involved in or something and the body ends up at the medical examiner’s. For $400, they can’t go down there, process it, and cremate it. Their cost is right at $750.’
Holmes County is given the ashes after cremation, which Erickson said they ‘have to figure out what to do with that.’ Working with the City of Bonifay for an indigent care portion of the city cemetery is an option, Erickson said.
‘We don’t have a place to keep them,’ Corbin said.
Last year’s indigent burial budget was $2,800.
‘You don’t ever know the amount of numbers you’re going to have,’ Corbin said. ‘Prime example: somebody gets killed on the interstate and nobody claims the body. Guess who belongs to? He belongs to Holmes County. He belongs to you commissioners.’
Corbin said three people in two weeks is the highest number of indigent people who died in Holmes since the four-and-a-half years he’s been around.