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Columbarium proposal tabled; survey shows residents unwilling to pay

Most Boulder City residents own pets and a substantial majority describe their furry companions as members of the family. But when it comes to bearing the costs for interment of remains after a pet dies, their enthusiasm wanes considerably.

At its Tuesday, Feb. 14, meeting, City Council unanimously decided to table the idea of building a pet columbarium and not move forward with additional research.

The decision came after City Manager Taylour Tedder presented the results of a survey taken to determine how residents feel about the proposal. The columbarium idea was initially floated in September to address the fact that it is illegal to bury pets in the desert outside the city. While some residents have long taken this route, all of the land surrounding Boulder City is subject to conservation easements and digging for any purpose is not allowed.

A columbarium is similar to a mausoleum but specifically designed for cremated remains. Cost for the structure could range from a low of $40,000 for a prefabricated building to $100,000 or more for a custom build. In either case, there would be substantial additional costs — perhaps as much as an additional $60,000 — to prepare the site.

A survey undertaken by the city received 94 responses, with 68 percent of respondees stating they have no interest in a columbarium. Additionally, 73 percent said they would not be willing to pay anything for such a service. Of those willing to pay, 11 percent said they would pay no more than $200 and, according to the city, the cost per pet would likely be substantially higher than that.

Interment charges would be in addition to having the pet remains cremated, which would continue to be done by veterinarians.

In its 2022 fiscal year budget, the city allocated $50,000 to research and design the columbarium, which would have been located at the animal control facility.

Contact reporter Bill Evans at wevans@bouldercityreview.com or at 702-586-9401.

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