Bartlett officials said Tuesday that dry weather conditions last year quickened the decline of trees in the village infested by the emerald ash borer, resulting in the need for more funding to combat the bug.
The village board will decide at an upcoming meeting whether to move forward with the removal and replanting of 3,000 trees at a total cost of approximately $1.3 million over several years.
There are plans to start targeting trees in the north end of village first, as the majority of the trees there are infested and the devastation is obvious.
“This is somewhat of an urgent situation for particular areas, and we certainly don't want to get in a situation where some of these trees are hazardous,” said village President Kevin Wallace.
Last year, the village removed 52 trees and treated another 1,000 with an insecticide that slowed down the infestation in some trees, Public Works Director Paul Kuester said.
This year's budget for parkway tree treatment and removal was increased after the village identified another 250 trees for removal, Kuester said. However, the number jumped due to the weather and as of June 1, a total of 988 dead parkway trees in the village need to be removed.
The public works department wants to remove 1,000 each fiscal year from now through 2015-16 at a cost of $337,500 each year, Kuester said. Larger trees would be removed by contractors, as the village has limited resources in terms of manpower and equipment.
Village staff is recommending that the tree removal costs be funded for now from the developer deposits fund, which currently has enough reserve dollars for this type of emergency project. In fiscal year 2015 and 2016, the village plans to set aside enough money in the capital budget.
There are also plans to plant 200 new trees this fiscal year, 1,000 trees in the 2014-15 and 2015-16 fiscal years and 800 trees in the 2016-17 fiscal year for a total cost of $330,000.
Kuester said the reforestation cannot be done solely through the current parkway tree replacement program, where costs are split 50/50 with property owners, because historically only 50 to 100 residents participate annually. Kuester is proposing the program be modified to a flat-fee program, where residents could pay $50 to select the species of a new 2- to 2.5-inch diameter tree that will replace a dead tree.
Still, Kuester said, the village will have to foot the cost of many smaller diameter trees. This year's budget includes $120,000 that can be allocated for the replacement of trees, and in future years, the budget will need to include the cost of replacing trees.
Village Administrator Valerie Salmons noted that the village continues to apply for federal or state funding to combat the emerald ash borer, but so far, without success.Copyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.