Brennan bill to ease restrictions on municipalities that take ownership of abandoned cemeteries passes House unanimously

DOYLESTOWN, April 17 – Rep. Tim Brennan, D-Bucks, announced today his legislation that would provide financial relief to municipalities that take over abandoned cemeteries has passed the House unanimously.

When a church with a cemetery closes its doors or otherwise becomes abandoned, Pennsylvania municipalities can become the owner of last resort, and may also be required to register as cemetery company with the State Real Estate Commission – a condition that comes with significant financial and administrative obligations. Religious and fraternal organizations are already exempt from this requirement, but not our local municipalities. According to Brennan, the Bucks County Association of Township Officials have been working to change this for over a decade because of the effect on local municipalities, including Plumstead Township.

“Only private, for-profit companies who sell burial plots to the public should be tasked with registering as a cemetery – not local governments,” Brennan said. “This requirement impedes the work of our already burdened municipalities, who are simply maintaining these burial grounds, not profiting from them. If we can save our municipalities some costs and trouble by avoiding this needless registration, our state government should be helping them and making it easier for our taxpayers.”

“The Bucks County Association of Township Officials is very appreciative that Rep. Brennan championed this legislation,” said Maggie Rash, president of BCATO and Buckingham Township supervisor. “BCATO’s members have been looking for relief for well over a decade. This bill passed with bipartisan support in the House, as did a version in the Senate, and we hope after so many years it finally reaches the governor’s desk.”

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