Goshen’s 50/50 Street Tree Maintenance program exists to help with this large and complicated project. The 50/50 Program allows property owners to split street tree removal and other maintenance costs with the city. If you’ve got a street tree that you’re concerned about, call me or email me, and we’ll schedule a time for me to come evaluate the tree, and plan the best action.
With the number of street trees that we have in the city, it’s hard to keep an eye on all of them. It’s good for property owners to be vigilant and active. Our public tree inventory is another way that I try to keep on top of trees that are in bad shape. The 2011 analysis of this inventory listed 769 trees across Goshen as needing removal because of their condition. I try to be proactive in letting property owners know that a street tree on their property should be removed.
It’s not always easy to get a tree removed, even when it’s in bad shape. Our 50/50 Program is designed to require property owner participation. Sometimes a property owner is hard to get in touch with, sometimes a property owner doesn’t have the money to prioritize for a tree, sometimes a property owner just doesn’t believe that the tree is in bad shape. Negotiating these variables takes time and creativity. In extreme cases, the city can remove a tree and bill the property owner. That leaves a bad taste for everyone. We work hard to avoid that situation.
The city has budget constraints as well. In 2013 we budgeted $37,000 for street tree maintenance. To keep up with the known removal needs and other tree maintenance issues requires more in the neighborhood of $160,000 yearly.
How can we react better to our trees? We have to work cooperatively, public and private, and we need to be really creative. Call me at 537-0986 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Aaron Sawatsky Kingsley is Goshen’s city forester. His column appears every other Sunday.