80 euros per person. “Cemetery Tax”.

In mid-October, the six municipalities that make up the so-called “Greater Limassol” decided to introduce a new fee. The revenues are supposed to be used to equip the new state cemetery. The decision instantly provoked a negative reaction from the local residents.

There is not enough room in the cemeteries.

There are two cemeteries in Limassol today: one at the church of St. Nicholas in the Agios Nikolaos area, the other in the area of Sfalangiotissa (municipality of Agios Athanasios). The first one has been vacant for a long time. However, burials there continue in family graves. In the second one, the free space is shrinking at a rapid pace. In addition, both cemeteries are managed by the Archdiocese of Limassol of the Cyprus Orthodox Church. And this means that only Orthodox Christians can be buried there (for Christians of other denominations and Muslims have their own cemeteries).

To pay in installments

The municipal authorities decided to open a cemetery run by themselves or by a private company of their choice. This would allow them to avoid the restrictions imposed by the church. A site for the new cemetery was found in Polemidia. The purchase of the land and its re-registration required 4.4 million euros. The regulator planned to collect this money from the residents.

The total amount of the new fee per resident is 80 euros. It has to be paid in four installments: 20 euros per year. In this decision, the authorities were guided by the regulations of the law on cemeteries, burials and exhumations N257(I) 2004. “The fee applies to all permanent residents of the “Greater Limassol” municipalities, regardless of their religious affiliation, nationality or origin, as it was decided that the new cemetery would be accessible to all,” the municipalities said in a statement.

Controversial issues

However, the reaction of residents has been mixed. Many have noted that they already have a place in one of the cemeteries in Limassol or elsewhere in Cyprus, where their family members are buried. Therefore, they do not plan to use the new cemetery. Others point out that in the long run there should be a crematorium in Cyprus. Therefore, someone who is potentially ready to be cremated does not have to pay for a cemetery. Finally, it has been rightly noted that paying the tax does not exempt one from having to buy one’s own burial place.

The deadline is three years.

The goal of the municipalities is for the new cemetery to be operational within the next three years. Provision is made for the creation of different zones – by faith. It is possible that the first crematorium in Cyprus will appear here. In addition, a memorial complex is planned for the burial of prominent citizens.

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