Results of a recent survey conducted by the New York State Funeral Directors Association show that its members make a significant economic and social contribution to the community where they are located.
According to information received from reporting members, average property taxes paid to local governments were $15,780. The tax amount ranged from a high of $153,000 to a low of $1,200 depending on location and size of the facility. The average payroll amount was $127,851. As for employees, funeral home operators reported an average of 2.61 full time workers (including the operator) and 4.06 part time workers.
In addition to these basic economic benefits to the community, local funeral homes produce a ripple effect on the economy by purchasing local products and services such as limousine and hearse rentals, floral decorations, professional accounting, insurance and legal support, maintenance and cleaning services, utilities, heating and air conditioning systems and telephone answering services.
The survey also disclosed that 78% of funeral directors who responded regularly refer families to local grief counselling services such as Hospice.
Funeral directors are very involved with local organizations such as the Rotary, Lions Club, Kiwanis, Masons, Chamber of Commerce, Knights of Columbus and Elks.
Some of the volunteer activities reported are: raising puppies for Upstate Guide Dog, church group affiliations, coaching for Little League baseball and football, the
Special Olympics, Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts, the Salvation Army, library trustee, fire commissioner, advanced life support technician, membership on the local emergency squad and disaster response team, New York State Adopt-A-Highway Program, hospital and bank board memberships, fire department ambulance crew, architectural review board, village planning board, Womens Executive Council New York State Fair, North Syracuse Housing Authority, section chief National Ski Patrol and membership in the International Brotherhood of Magicians.
Many of NYSFDA's members serve on school boards and town councils, and as county legislators, mayors and judges.
The economic and social contributions made by the funeral industry tend to be stable and long lasting as many funeral homes have remained in the same family for several generations so that the facility becomes an integral part of the community . Unlike other industries which have ceased being a part of the local economic landscape, funeral home operators do not take their business elsewhere by moving to another state or going off-shore. They continue to provide an important service to local families while they support the community where they operate.