Everybody likes trees in their yards. Trees provide good shade and they green up one's property. If a property owner decides to plant trees on their property, shouldn't they be expected to keep the trees trimmed? It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know when a tree needs to be trimmed. If you mow your lawn and you have to duck in order to not get bonked on the head and whiplashed in the face, you need to trim the dang tree. If it impedes the sidewalk or the street, it needs to be trimmed.
When did we become such a lazy society? Councilor Anderson got a complaint from some constituent and now is asking for a review of the city's Parks and Recreation Project T.R.I.M. program. City ordinance requires trees to have a 10 foot clearance over sidewalks and a minimum 12 foot clearance over the street. For arterial and collector streets, there must be a 16 foot clearance over the street.
The Parks Department has an inspection program whereby they inspect the city in quadrants. If they find trees that are not in compliance with the ordinance, they send a notice to the property owner. If the property owner does not comply, they get a second notice with more detailed information on which tree needs trimming. If the property owner still doesn't comply, they go out and trim the tree(s) and charge the property owner $150 per hour for the service. 3% of property owners don't comply. 97% do comply.
Councilor Anderson doesn't think the Parks Department is giving the homeowner enough information on which trees need trimming. He also threw out the idea that maybe the city should take over trimming trees. Director Kearney says that is is just too expensive. Darn right it is too expensive and I, for one, am not interested in having my taxes increased because someone can't trim their own trees on their property. First we can't shovel our own driveways, and now we can't seem to trim our own trees.
The City Council Public Services Committee asked Parks and Recreation officials to come before them to justify their program. Clearly, this is a program that is working. Maybe Councilor Anderson should have responded to the complaining constiuent with detailed information about the sucess of the program and remind the property owner of their duty as a property owner.
This is much ado about nothing but then making mountains out of mole hills is what politicians seem to do. Just because somebody complains doesn't mean whole programs need changing. It would be different if Parks and Recreation didn't have a plan and weren't be responsible in managing it, but they are. They should be commended for running a program with a 97% compliance rate.
Move on, Public Services Committee.