UPDATE: Project TRIM pilot program proves that the city can affordably trim city owned trees

UPDATE: I wanted to add that the Denny Sanford Premier Center probably costs taxpayers about $6 million a year (after sponsorships, profits, sales and sales tax revenue offset) that comes to $31.58 per year, per resident. Ironically, not everyone attends the EC and on top of that, you still have to buy a ticket to go there. I would say, Project TRIM at no cost would be a lot more bang for our buck.

I was surprised that the number was so low. $58 per property. If you are in violation in it’s current form, the city could charge you $150-$300 to trim THEIR trees, even though in reality we pay frontage fees/taxes to take care of these things. As Stehly points out in the meeting, it could be even lower if we contract the work with private contractors (creating local jobs) or using inmate labor.

I would also like to point out that these costs will get lower each year because the city will be doing this on a regular basis and keep it managed. I also think the price tag is a pittance for the trimming, $688K per year, compared to other expenditures in our city. That comes to about $3.62 per resident, per year. Half the price of a value meal at Mickey D’s. We can afford this.


#1 LJL on 01.21.20 at 7:59 pm

I don’t have boulevard trees. Why do I have to subsidies your property upkeep?

#2 D@ily Spin on 01.21.20 at 9:55 pm

What’s missing is the value of the firewood. If trees are trimmed free, there’s no bid and insurance process. An average yard would average about $40 of cordwood. It can be done at no charge and there’s a substantial profit.

#3 l3wis on 01.22.20 at 10:20 am

Why should I subsidize public education? I don’t have kids.

#4 "Very Stable Genius" on 01.22.20 at 12:05 pm

Given the “Red Line,” why is this even an issue? Shouldn’t they already be trimming for free?

( – and Woodstock adds: “I forgot about the ‘Red Line'”…. “It takes a tornado, I guess”….)

#5 LJL on 01.22.20 at 8:06 pm

Would you have been able to go to school without it being publicly funded? If you don’t want to trim your own tree’s, don’t own property.

#6 l3wis on 01.22.20 at 9:33 pm

Nice try. My parents paid for my public education thru their property taxes. So whose education am I paying for? Oh that’s right, like most people I understand the ‘social contract’ I have as a taxpayer, you however do not, and want to bitch about it.

#7 anominous on 01.22.20 at 11:02 pm

nothing like a bunch of convicts with chainsaws in the front yard

#8 Ljl on 01.23.20 at 9:16 am

$58 per property service that generates no tax revenue is a non starter

For an ilk thats constantly bitching about affordable housing, you never hesitate to tack on more cost.

What is our forestry department doing during the summer of no tree cutting? That’s the only way I will support this foolishness.

#9 Conservative Here on 01.23.20 at 9:57 am

Uggghh the Social Contract argument again. A contract is something both sides agree to and it’s not forced on someone. People have different values which is clear in this blog and I am not criticizing anyone but, simplifying stating a fact. In order to be held to this standard we both have to agree and its clear in this country we have a lot of disagreement so this social contract is a myth that is not enforceable nor can it be agreed upon. This is why we have Laws and ordinances so their is an enforcement piece

This whole debate about what is taxed or payed for is an interesting one. Just this morning I heard there is discussion of imposing a tax on Alcohol to deal with the increased expense of Alcohol related crimes. On one hand I understand it because this is the pocket of people (not all but, a subset) that as a group are contributing to the need but, on the other hand why are we “picking” things to tax more on. So this brings me around to the point Scott brought up, why should I pay for taxes on Schools I don’t have kids. I think this is a great point. Having children and drinking are choices, along with owning property and putting trees up that need to be trimmed. My point is, if we are going to tax things based on use, then we need to find a way to do that. If we are not, then we should not tax certain items. On a personal note, I have no issue with Smoking taxes, Alcohol taxes, gambling, etc as they don’t affect me but, I think we need to be consistent on taxes and we need to stop picking winners and losers. All this does is create division and things to argue about. I don’t know about you but, I am sick to death of being taxes at every turn at a Federal, State, and Local level. Then our public officials whine about not having money. Here is an idea, balance your budget and cut programs. This is what most Americans do when they realize their Expenses are exceeding their Income. It’s not always comfortable but, necessary.

#10 "Very Stable Genius" on 01.23.20 at 12:44 pm

Uh, it’s a social contract, not a legal contract. We all adhere to it everyday, too, when we get up each day and treat each other with civility.

Our mere respect for the law, well, for most, is dependent upon an exercise of a commitment to the social contract. No government, regardless of how many guns it may have, may maintain its relevance and credibility without its citizens showing respect for it, and its laws, due to a commitment to the values of the social contract by that government, which any legitimate government exemplifies through its genuine and fair policies and laws, which include a respect and execution of contract law for instance.

Often, it is conservatives, who are squeamish, when the term social contract comes into play, or discussion. Perhaps, it has something to do with the mere word “social,” which is too much like socialism, but even the greatest of successful conservatives believe in and are dependent upon the social contract. Because no successful conservative businessperson could plan and execute the beginnings of a hopeful and successful business endeavor without expecting, via the social contract, the ability or capability to hire good employees, whose positive work ethic is itself a demonstrative example of the social contract.

Our social contract, too, and the acceptance of its existence, is, thus, crucial for any legal contract to have any potential credibility and enforceability as well.

#11 Conservative Here on 01.23.20 at 8:28 pm

VSG – Your middle paragraph in relation to Conservatives being squeamish about this stuff just makes no sense and throwing in the Socialism bit was wonky at best. No one is squeamish about language or the use of any term, at least not I. Businesses pay employees for their skill set and labor in exchange for a wage. We all know that in order to be paid that wage we must perform the duties assigned and adhere to any policy or procedure they ask of us. If we fail to do that they can let us go and if don’t like the pay or benefits we can leave. Every business has different rules, culture, etc but I fail to see this social contract stuff you all keep discussing. THe word contract per the definition “is a written or spoken agreement, especially one concerning employment, sales, or tenancy, that is intended to be enforceable by law.” There are numerous articles written about the fallacy of a Social Contract. You can believe it all you want it does not make it true.

“No government, regardless of how many guns it may have, may maintain its relevance and credibility without its citizens showing respect for it, and its laws, due to a commitment to the values of the social contract by that government, which any legitimate government exemplifies through its genuine and fair policies and laws, which include a respect and execution of contract law for instance.”

The point you made above is not based in reality. In oppressive countries such as Iran, China, etc, the mere fact that the government has almost total control over its citizens at the point of a gun would suggest this Social Contract does not work. I would be willing to bet those people didn’t sign up for the oppression they are under. I am sure one could argue they are not Legitimate or they are not genuine but, it feels like this Social Contract is not working there.

What you folks on the left argue for when it all boils down is some type of “collectivism”. In theory that all sounds great but, we all know not everyone plays by the same set of rules and it NEVER works anywhere. I believe the individual is paramount over any group. This conversation we are having, while I know you mean well, we just disagree and I bet there is so many other things we do. So I may not agree with what you think is fair or socially moral and vice versus.