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posted: 12/20/2011 12:01 AM

Arlington Hts. residents get choice on treating ash trees

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Arlington Heights residents will be on their own if they want to pay to treat trees on their property or parkways that are infested with emerald ash borer, although on Monday several residents asked the village for financial assistance.

The village board unanimously approved a proposal to allow residents to choose whether to treat the ash trees infested with the deadly insect, with the preferred injection treatment expected to cost about $100 per tree, and be required several times over the next several years.

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"We all know if the trees are not treated they will die," said resident Patti Mora. "I'm asking you to have a cost-sharing program so we have a higher success rate. We are the village of Arlington Heights, a community, so let's act like one and work together on this."

Other residents suggested some type of incentive, such as $20 per tree, to give residents a token reason to get involved with the treatment program, which they said could help save the city money in the long term.

"Think about it from a marketing perspective," said resident Keith Mulford. "Every single tree someone treats will deter the cost you have to pay later."

City Manager Bill Dixon said the financial impact of such a program would be formidable for the city. Mayor Arlene Mulder reminded residents that the village decided not to raise the property tax levy this year.

Mulder also said the city will be educating people about the importance of treating infested trees. A map of the approximately 13,000 ash trees in the village is available at www.vah.com.

The village has no choice but to remove parkway trees that die, and that's an expense village board members said they will need to work into next year's budget discussions.

Trees that have lost more than half their leaves are not worth treating. The village has said it will try to replace ash trees but has not yet determined it will replace every one that is removed.

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