So can the city afford to trim (their) trees in the boulevard?

So let me get this straight . . .

We don’t want to take money from FEMA because they are the big bad Feds (who we actually pay taxes to, so we are essentially taking money from OURSELVES to fix a problem WE have).

Then we find out we don’t need to take the money because the city is in ‘fine financial shape’ so we pay for this branch cleanup out of the city coffers (also our money).

Factor in that the city has saved millions this winter due to the lack of snow and snow removal (somewhere around $7 million).

So why hasn’t the city been budgeting for tree trimming all along? We apparently have the money to do the ENTIRE city at one fast blast, why not section it off over a 5 year cycle?

Funny how the city conveniently ‘doesn’t have the money’ in a normal budget cycle, but when a natural disaster occurs we have all kinds of cashola, enough to give the FEDS a middle finger and to cleanup the whole kit and kaboodle.

My suggestion is to implement a program every year to trim the trees in the boulevard, because, you know, like, we have the money. Oh, yeah, and F’CK the Feds who wants their (our) money anyhoo?


#1 Helga on 05.06.13 at 2:26 am

When you talk common sense that goes over “their” heads.

#2 Detroit Lewis on 05.06.13 at 10:00 am

I think it is ‘ironic’ that they poo-poo trimming their trees because it would be ‘too big of a task’ but when push comes to shove, we have all kinds of resources to get it done.

#3 rufusx on 05.06.13 at 10:28 am

Fed $$ (which is – OMG! our money too) will probably be coming. Calm down.

#4 anominous on 05.06.13 at 10:51 am

Now Waste Management will be able to run their gigantic trucks without worrying about hitting tree branches. Problem solved.

#5 Detroit Lewis on 05.06.13 at 10:53 am

Ruf – I don’t think MMM will take it.

#6 pathloss on 05.06.13 at 11:10 am

Trees between the sidewalk and curb are city trees. They’ll try the citation thing on you but they do not comply with state civil procedures and have no way to enforce ordinances. This is a good time for a class action seeking medical expenses for citizens who fall out of city owned trees.

#7 Craig on 05.06.13 at 1:26 pm

“when push comes to shove, we have all kinds of resources to get it done”

We have had people working seven days a week many of which are collecting a massive amount of overtime. The cost of this cleanup will be in the tune of millions of dollars – so I don’t think it is a matter of having “all kinds of resources”.

This was an emergency situation… not exactly something we deal with on a yearly basis. I fail to see the logic behind why the city should be responsible for each and ever tree planted in a boulevard.

Here is a scenario for you. I built a house a few years back and I planted a tree in the boulevard. The city did not authorize me to do so nor did they pay for the tree. It was my tree – I watered it and I trimmed it. A few short years later the tree died for some reason, so I removed it.

Should I have expected the city to trim that tree? Should I have expected them to come cut it down after it died? Why or why not?

Now in my current home the previous homeowner planted two trees in the boulevard. These trees are now to the point they don’t require much, but in a few years I’m sure I’ll have to trim branches in order to prevent them from encroaching on the sidewalk. Should this be the duty of the city? Should I just be able to wash my hands of it since I didn’t plant the trees in the first place? Why or why not?

#8 Detroit Lewis on 05.06.13 at 4:07 pm

Craig, the city owns the boulevard, doesn’t matter who planted the tree.

As for the cleanup efforts, YES, a lot of money has been spent, so why not take FEMA’s assistance? My point is simple, if the city has money in it’s own coffers to clean the ENTIRE city, it obviously has it to do it in a 5 year cycle.

#9 Craig on 05.07.13 at 9:01 am

“Craig, the city owns the boulevard, doesn’t matter who planted the tree.”

That seems a bit idiotic. So a homeowner should be able to randomly plant trees – and then suddenly it is the city’s problem when they start heaving streets and sidewalks or when the branches impede traffic or pedestrians on the sidewalk? That’s insane.

In cases of a safety issue (such as tree limbs in contact with electrical lines or a dead limb at risk of falling into the street) I’m all for the city helping out, but I will never support them trimming and maintaining all of the boulevard trees throughout the entire city. That is a multi-million dollar a year expense that should be handled by those who opt to plant (or buy houses with existing) trees.

As to the FEMA money – I don’t know enough details to comment. I have no idea what the strings are or what other Federal money may be coming. When the dust settles I’m sure the city will NOT be paying for all of this on their own dime. I’m sure there will be state or federal dollars coming in at some point.

#10 Detroit Lewis on 05.07.13 at 9:48 am

Actually, Parks and Rec said not to long ago that it would aproximately cost the city $700,000 a year if they broke it up into 5 sections, and did a section each year. When you factor in what it costs to subsidize an indoor pool each year, $700,000 is a spit in the bucket. I also told councilor Jamison the other night, one of the reasons why cleanup on the boulevard was so bad is because people were not trimming those trees on a regular basis. If the city came by ever 3-5 years and did it, we probably would not have had such a big mess. But I am just speculating on that.

#11 Craig on 05.07.13 at 3:28 pm

I’m guessing you are partly correct though – people don’t trim their trees, which means the cleanup was probably worse than it might have been. Perhaps the lesson learned here should be that people need to do a better job or risk more damage to their cars, homes, and lawns. Granted that only addresses the boulevard trees – and most homes have many more trees in the remainder of their lawns which are trimmed even less.

As to the “spit in the bucket”, $700k is $700k. We could probably pay for new solar panels for everyone’s roof too if we did the city in sections, but it doesn’t mean we should.

Hard to justify one stupid expenditure by claiming it is less expensive than another stupid expenditure. I’m a firm believer the city shouldn’t do everything and it shouldn’t be all things for all people. I might even say I’m a fan of smaller government – thus I’d rather say the city should stay away from maintenance that individual homeowners could handle themselves.

We disagree on street trees and always have. That’s fine though… keeps things interesting.

#12 Detroit Lewis on 05.07.13 at 8:58 pm

“Hard to justify one stupid expenditure by claiming it is less expensive than another stupid expenditure. ”

Really? One is a public service, one is recreation.

#13 Craig on 05.07.13 at 10:24 pm

Painting my house is a public service too… but I don’t expect the city to pay for it.

#14 Zamby on 05.09.13 at 12:02 pm

Zamby like to swing in trees