Chapter 10.04


10.04.010    Establishment of Ritzville Memorial Cemetery.

10.04.020    Maintenance and improvement.

10.04.040    Duties of the city.

10.04.050    Sale of lots and niche drawers.

10.04.055    Reserve fund established.

10.04.060    Assessments for care, upkeep and improvement.

10.04.070    Persons owning lots within the boundaries of the cemetery required to file claims.

10.04.080    Interment or inurnment.

10.04.085    Markers, monuments, and other structures.

10.04.090    Violations – Penalties.

10.04.100    Rule of construction and severability.

10.04.010 Establishment of Ritzville Memorial Cemetery.

There is established in the NW quarter of the NE quarter of Section 22 Township 19N Range 33E the Ritzville Memorial Cemetery, the site thereof to be the present site of the cemetery formerly belonging to the German Zion Congregational Church, the deed to the premises for burial purposes only is accepted by the city council, with full power of acquisition of other grounds adjacent thereto for burial purposes.

The city reserves the right to lay out, alter or vacate avenues, walks, and roads to establish or delineate the location of graves and to change these rules and regulations as may be deemed necessary and proper by the city to secure and promote the general interests of the cemetery and no notice of such intended action shall be required. (Ord. 2119 § 1, 2018; Ord. 762 § 1, 1985; Ord. 429 § 1, 1955; Ord. 327).

10.04.020 Maintenance and improvement.

The policy of the council shall be to maintain the Ritzville Memorial Cemetery as a public burial ground with endowment care and keep as a permanent burial tract with grass, shrubs and trees, as shall be provided by the city council.

The director of public works or his designee(s) shall have the authority to approve or disapprove all matters relating to the cemetery, such as the setting of headstones, removal of decorations, set up of graves, opening and closing of graves, etc.

A. It shall be unlawful to plant any flower, vine, plant, shrub, bush or tree upon any grave or lot in the cemetery. All artificial plants, flowers, decorations, containers, etc., shall be removed at the discretion of the public works director or his designee(s).

1. All flowers and decorations placed at the cemetery for Memorial Day are subject to removal the Monday following Memorial Day, and will not remain later than seven days after.

B. Floral Regulations. The city shall have authority to remove all floral designs, flowers, weeds, trees, shrubs, plants, or herbage of any kind from the cemetery as soon as, in the judgment of the public works director, they become unsightly, dangerous, detrimental or diseased, or when they do not conform to the standards maintained.

1. The city shall not be liable for floral pieces, baskets, or frames in which or to which such floral pieces are attached.

2. The city shall not be liable for lost, misplaced, or broken flower vases.

3. The city shall not be responsible for plants, herbage or planting of any kind damaged by the elements, thieves, vandals, or by other causes beyond its control.

4. The city reserves the right to regulate the method of decorating lots so that a uniform beauty may be maintained.

5. The city reserves the right to prevent the removal of any flowers, floral designs, trees, shrubs, or plants or herbage of any kind, unless it gives its consent.

C. Certain Ornaments Prohibited. The placing of boxes, shells, toys, metal designs, ornaments, chairs, settees, vases, glass, wood or iron cases, fences, edging materials, shepherd’s hooks, trellises, solar lights or other similar articles upon lots shall not be permitted and, if so placed, the city may remove the same.

1. It shall be unlawful to curb or fence any lot in the cemetery.

2. Glass of any kind is not allowed in the cemetery, including vases, ceramic statues, terracotta pots and decorations.

The city is not responsible for reimbursement for any plants or decorations removed by city staff, or damage that may have been caused by the maintenance crew. (Ord. 2119 § 1, 2018; Ord. 762 § 2, 1985; Ord. 429 § 2, 1955; Ord. 327).

10.04.040 Duties of the city.

The duties of the city are enumerated as follows:

A. To maintain the cemetery in a matter fitting the solemnity of the ground;

B. To contract for the purchase of equipment, shrubs, flowers, grass seed and trees;

C. To keep records of accounts and lots registered for the proper identity of the burial place;

D. To make rules and regulations relative to monuments, headstones, markers, flowers, grass, trees and shrubs and other matters as shall be required in connection with the operation and maintenance of the burial grounds;

E. To submit annually an estimate of funds needed to carry on the cemetery prior to the time fixed by statute for the filing of the preliminary budget;

F. To do every other matter and thing necessary to be done for the complete performance and maintenance of the care, improvement and solemnity of the said grounds. (Ord. 2119 § 1, 2018; Ord. 1092 § 173, 2005; Ord. 762 § 4, 1985; Ord. 429 § 4, 1955; Ord. 327).

10.04.050 Sale of lots and niche drawers.

A. Fees for lots and niche drawers shall be in accordance with the adopted fee schedule.

B. Lots are sold for the burial of human remains or cremains only. Persons owning lots in said cemetery will not be permitted to sell said lots except to the city of Ritzville, for which said lots the city agrees to pay the sum of $5.00 per lot, except as to any lot which was purchased from the city, the city agrees to pay 80 percent of the purchase price thereof.

C. The city shall sell single lots designed for one grave only and no lots or blocks designed for more than one grave shall be sold.

D. Cemetery spaces purchased may be transferred to others by the purchaser. The transfer of interment rights shall only include those interment spaces available at the time of transfer. Interment rights of occupied spaces shall not be transferred. A cemetery lot transfer agreement shall be signed by the purchaser in order to transfer any spaces. In the event that the original purchaser is deceased, the next of kin will need to sign the transfer agreement instead.

E. Indebtedness. The city may refuse to consent to a transfer or to an assignment as long as there is any indebtedness due the city from the record lot owner. No work shall be done, nor interments made, on any lot on which unpaid bills have accrued.

F  Previously reserved lots can be held for up to two years after the effective date of Ordinance No. 2119, after which time they shall be purchased or released. Reserved, unpurchased lots are subject to the most recent and available cost(s) in accordance with city’s adopted fee schedule. No lots will be available for reservation upon passing of Ordinance No. 2119.

G. Funds received from the sale of lots will be paid to the city clerk/treasurer who shall keep a record thereof; such portion shall be deposited to the cemetery fund and such portion to the cemetery trust fund as the council shall, from time to time, direct by resolution, but such proportion to the trust fund shall, at no time, be less than required by the statutes of the state as now are in effect or may hereafter be amended. (Ord. 2119 § 1, 2018; Ord. 762 § 5, 1985; Ord. 429 § 5, 1955; Ord. 327).

10.04.055 Reserve fund established.

A. There has been and is now in existence a cemetery fund.

B. At least 20 percent of the funds from the sale of lots shall be deposited in the fund until such time as the funds shall be of sufficient amount that the revenue received therefrom will provide ample funds for the perpetual care and keep of the cemetery.

C. It shall be the duty of the council to deposit in the fund such amounts of money from general taxation as the council shall determine from year to year for the permanent upkeep of the cemetery.

D. Public donations, endowments, bequests and other funds received by the city for said purpose, shall be deposited in the fund.

E. The fund shall be kept by the city clerk/treasurer, and shall be open for public inspection, and audited by such committee as the council shall from time to time direct.

F. The city clerk/treasurer shall be authorized to invest the funds in the same type of investments as are authorized by the laws of the state relative to endowment care funds, and any amendments thereto.

G. It shall be permissible to spend the principal of the fund, if necessary, for the operation and maintenance of the cemetery.

H. Expenditures of monies from the trust fund shall be made pursuant to a budget as adopted by the city council. (Ord. 2119 § 1, 2018; Ord. 824 § 1, 1988; Ord. 762 § 7, 1985; Ord. 500, 1964; Ord. 429 § 8, 1955; Ord. 327. Formerly 10.04.080).

10.04.060 Assessments for care, upkeep and improvement.

A. The city council of the city of Ritzville shall have the power to levy assessments for care, upkeep and improvement of any lot not occupied or being used for burial purposes, such assessment not to exceed the pro rata per lot for the cemetery in general.

B. Property owners shall be notified by registered mail of the assessment and due date thereof; upon failure to pay the assessment when due, the same will become a lien upon the lot, and shall be foreclosed by the city of Ritzville in the same manner as tax liens are foreclosed by counties of the state.

C. In the event the name of the owner of the lot assessed cannot be ascertained with reasonable diligence, the city council shall have the power to foreclose such assessments by publication of summons as is now provided by the laws of the state for quieting title actions against unknown parties. (Ord. 2119 § 1, 2018; Ord. 762 § 6, 1985; Ord. 429 § 6, 1955; Ord. 327).

10.04.070 Persons owning lots within the boundaries of the cemetery required to file claims.

A. Persons having vested rights in the Ritzville Memorial Cemetery, formerly the German Congregational Church Cemetery, who have not recorded their deed or other evidence of ownership in the office of the auditor of Adams County, Washington, are required to file a claim with the clerk/treasurer of the city of Ritzville for the lot or lots claimed, together with copies of all written evidence of the claimed ownership.

The city clerk/treasurer shall notify the cemetery board of the claim, and the board shall fix the time for the hearing of the claim, and shall notify the claimant of the time and place of hearing; should the board grant the claim, the city clerk/treasurer or other designated officer shall enter upon the cemetery records the claimed ownership; in the event the board should deny the claimed ownership, the claimant shall have the right of appeal to the city council, said claim to be heard at the next regular council meeting after the appeal is taken; the decision of the city council shall be final.

B. All persons claiming vested rights in the Ritzville Memorial Cemetery, through deeds of conveyance or otherwise from the German Zion Congregational Church, who have failed to record said deeds or other evidence of conveyance in the office of the auditor of Adams County, Washington, or who shall fail for a period of seven years after the passage of this chapter to file a claim for said lot or lots as herein provided, shall be forever barred from claiming or asserting any right, title, estate, interest or claim therein. (Ord. 2119 § 1, 2018; Ord. 429 § 7, 1955; Ord. 327).

10.04.080 Interment or inurnment.

A. Application. A burial permit shall, in all cases, be filed with interment or inurnment. A cemetery interment authorization agreement shall be signed with the city clerk. A burial shall only take place after a burial permit has been obtained and presented to the city or its designee(s) for approval, and with the interment authorization agreement being signed and presented to the city clerk. When interments or inurnments are to be made, an advance notice of 48 hours shall be given to the city in order to properly prepare the grave. Burial permits shall be administered in accordance with the laws of the state of Washington. The city shall not be responsible for any set up for burials in the cemetery.

B. Construction Standards. A container to keep gravesites from caving in or collapsing on caskets shall be required. All interments except cremations must be made in cement liner, cement vaults, or steel vaults. No tombs shall be erected on top of the ground. All monuments shall be set in a foundation which shall be at ground level. All monuments must be set in line according to a cemetery survey.

1. Vaults. For every interment the casket shall be enclosed in a concrete box, concrete vault, steel vault, infant cement liner or infant casket/vault.

2. Urns. Urns for direct burial shall be enclosed in a container designed for direct burial. Urns made of wood, ceramic, or biodegradable materials shall be in an urn vault.

C. Opening/Closing. All graves shall be opened and closed by the director of public works and/or his designee(s). Fees for opening and closing of each grave; opening and closing of each lot for deposit of an urn; opening and closing any ash burial niche; any opening and closings that do not take place during regular city hours, such as weekends and holidays, shall be in accordance with the city’s adopted fee schedule. Said sums shall be paid by the person requesting the work to be done. The funeral home may be billed or prepayment of open and close fees can be made with the city prior to burial.

1. The fee for disinterment of a full burial and the fee for disinterment of cremated remains shall be in accordance with the city’s adopted fee schedule.

a. The applicant is solely responsible for obtaining all permits required by law for disinterment.

b. No disinterment will be allowed without the written consent of any one of the following in the order named: the surviving spouse; a surviving child of the decedent; a surviving parent of the decedent; or a surviving sibling of the decedent.

c. Where written consent is not obtained, permission or order by the superior court of Adams County will be sufficient, provided such permission shall not violate the terms of a written contract or the rules and regulations established for the cemetery.

2. Disinterment Authorization Agreement. A disinterment authorization agreement, subject to the approval of the city attorney, in the city attorney’s sole discretion, shall be signed by the appropriate authorized party and returned to the city prior to any disinterment of any remains regardless of age or length of time interred in the cemetery.

3. Denial of Disinterment requests. City council shall retain the authority to deny any disinterment request and may consider a recommendation from the public works director in their decision.

D. Multiple Interments/Inurnments.

1. There shall be a limit of one body per single lot with a “right to second interment.” This means that there is a limit of two interments per single lot.

a. There cannot be two full casket burials in the same single lot. If there is a second interment, there can be buried either one full casket and one cremated remains; or two sets of cremated remains except in the case of one adult and one infant child or two infants.

b. If cremation burial is first you cannot do a full casket burial.

2. Each niche will hold up to two urns with memorialization available on the niche front. The memorialization is not the responsibility of the city.

3. The sprinkling of cremated human remains is not allowed on cemetery grounds. (Ord. 2119 § 1, 2018; Ord. 824 § 2, 1988; Ord. 327 § 7A. Formerly 10.04.085).

10.04.085 Markers, monuments, and other structures.

No marker/monument/headstone/other structure may be placed, moved, or removed without prior approval of the city.

A. Placement by City. All headstones must be installed by the city, or an approved designee; a setting fee shall be paid before the work is completed. The city will not allow the erection of any memorial unless lots are paid in full. Headstone installation may be performed during the period of May through October. An installation appointment must be made with the city, by the approved designee, or responsible party, at least 72 hours prior to installation, if a family member is to be present at the time of placement.

Any headstone erected in the cemetery shall be set in a suitable concrete base, the top of which base shall rest flush with the ground surface and project at least six inches on all sides from the headstone.

1. There shall be a limit of one headstone per single lot, excepting in the case of placement of a military veteran marker or a cremation marker. The marker shall be flush or slightly below ground level and set in line with the placement of current or future headstones.

a. The city or approved designee may, at each interment, place one proper in-ground floral vase that would remain at the burial lot. A maximum of two vases per cemetery lot will be allowed.

2. No garden paving or patio type block is allowed as an extension of the marker collar.

3. Placement of any marker will be the sole responsibility of whoever has it placed; holding the city harmless in the event that the marker is damaged in any way due to normal cemetery actions.

4. Headstones may not be more than four feet wide (the width of a single lot) nor extend more than two feet into the length of a single lot.

5. The director of public works or his designee(s) reserves the right to approve or disapprove the placement of all headstones in the cemetery.

a. Should the base or headstone not be set to the city standards, the city will itemize deficiencies to be corrected and afford the installer opportunity to remedy those deficiencies. The city is authorized to remove and dispose of the base and headstone at the installer’s expense if deficiencies are not corrected to the satisfaction of the city.

B. Temporary Markers. A temporary marker may be placed on the gravesite pending the installation of a permanent marker/monument.

1. Temporary markers shall meet the cemetery or funeral industry standards.

2. The temporary marker must be removed at the time the permanent marker/monument is installed.

3. All reasonable care will be taken; however, temporary markers will not be replaced or repaired by the city if damaged or destroyed by cemetery maintenance.

C. Errors in Placing of Memorials. The city reserves and shall have the right to correct any error that may be made by its employees or by any other person or persons in the location or placing of a memorial in the cemetery.

D. Removal or Moving of Headstones.

1. Moving headstones already installed that impede the opening or closing will not be the responsibility of the city.

2. Headstones that become damaged or are a hazard to patrons of the cemetery or city personnel may be either repaired or removed. The owner of the headstone or the owner’s surviving family shall be responsible for the cost of the repair or removal. (Ord. 2119 § 1, 2018).

10.04.090 Violations – Penalties.

It shall be unlawful:

A. For any person, firm or corporation to violate any of the provisions of this chapter;

B. To violate any of the rules or regulations adopted by the council for the beautification, maintenance and upkeep of the cemetery;

C. To willfully damage any tombstone, monument, or marker or to willfully destroy any of the cemetery property;

D. To permit any livestock within the cemetery grounds;

E. Any person violating any portion of this chapter shall be punished in accordance with RCC 1.02.010, General penalty.

F. The city reserves the right to refuse to do business with any companies and/or people who do not comply with the rules for the cemetery. (Ord. 2119 § 1, 2018; Ord. 1092 § 174, 2005; Ord. 762 § 8, 1985; Ord. 429 § 9, 1955; Ord. 327).

10.04.100 Rule of construction and severability.

This chapter shall be liberally construed; if any section, sentence, clause or part of this chapter is for any reason held to be unconstitutional or invalid, such decision shall not affect the remaining portion of this chapter.

The city council hereby declares that it intended to pass each section of this chapter, irrespective of every other section or subsection, sentence, clause, or phrase thereof, and such intention is hereby given effect. (Ord. 2119 § 1, 2018; Ord. 429 § 11, 1955; Ord. 327).