PROVIDENCE, Utah — Widespread cheating on cemetery rules could lead to an increase in the price of burial plots in Providence.

Some Providence residents have cheated the city — buying up plots and reselling them to out-of-towners who want to get around higher fees, the city administrator Skarlet Bankhead said.

"Many people are cheating," Bankhead said after a City Council meeting Tuesday.

The price of a burial plots is $150 for residents and $600 for nonresidents. Those rates have been not been raised since 1998.

The City Council is now considering charging a flat fee, regardless of residency. The council delayed taking a vote this week so more study could be done.

Charging a flat fee could be an equalizer, but not everyone agrees with the approach, nor is there agreement about how much would be charged.

Opponents say a flat fee would unfairly punish residents who bought plots in good faith for family members who are currently living elsewhere.

Others fear nonresidents will snap up plots, leaving no room in the cemetery for residents.

Councilman Dale Astle says charging outsiders a higher rate seems fair because local tax dollars support the cemetery.

"If the cemetery was self-supporting, I would have no problem with it," Astle said of the one-rate plan.

Providence Public Works Director Randy Eck said raising all plot fees to $600 would make the resident fees in Providence the highest of any cemetery in Cache County.

Residents in nearby Logan pay $360 for a burial, while nonresidents are charged $650. Wellsville's rates are the cheapest — $100 for residents and $200 for outsiders. In Brigham City, the rates are $450 and $900 for residents and nonresidents, respectively.

"The philosophy behind that is, 'We want our cemetery for our residents,'" Eck said.

Information from: The Herald Journal, http://www.hjnews.com