by Jeremy Moule
The county is changing the way it covers the cost of providing indigent burial assistance, but it isn't increasing the amount it gives to applicants.
During a County Legislature committee meeting last night, Scott Adair, the county's chief financial officer, said that officials are budgeting $550,000 to $750,000 in indigent burial assistance payments for 2013. In previous years, the assistance was funded through the basic property tax levy. In 2013, however, the county plans to charge the expense back to communities. But the county is not increasing the $1,250 maximum in assistance payments, Adair said.
Anti-poverty advocates have called on the county to increase the size of the payments. They say that the maximum isn't enough pay for a proper burial and that it forces families into cremating the deceased's remains.