Lake Zurich will need to prepare to pay for accelerated removal of public trees due to emerald ash borer infestation, according to the chairman of an advisory village panel.
Resident Scott Garrison, chairman of the village's volunteer tree commission, recently updated elected officials on how much damage has been inflicted by the continued march of the exotic metallic green beetle in Lake Zurich.
Garrison said about 3,000 of the village's 8,000 publicly owned parkway trees are of the ash variety. Because removal of infested trees is a common practice to halt the beetle's spread, Lake Zurich needs to accelerate the effort, he said.
Roughly 300 ash trees have been removed since the beetle was confirmed in Lake Zurich in March 2011. However, he said, the village needs to allot money toward felling another 2,700 ash trees in the next two years or so because they are in a "death curve" and pose potential hazards.
"While I applaud the efforts by the village board to appropriate funds for tree removal and replacement, I implore you and warn you that these expenses will need to increase in the coming years as the rate of ash tree mortality will continue to increase," Garrison said.
In Bartlett, officials were told last summer it would cost about $1.3 million for a multiyear program to remove and replace 3,000 ash trees.
Lake Zurich's forestry budget has $51,000 for contract tree removal and $57,000 for replacement planting.
Mayor Thomas Poynton responded to Garrison's warning about the expected higher costs associated with the emerald ash borer.
"We'll do our best at looking at the budget to provide a few more funds," Poynton said.
The beetle has destroyed millions of ash trees since being discovered in North America in 2002 in southeast Michigan. In Illinois, the emerald ash borer was found in June 2006 in a subdivision near Lily Lake in Kane County.
Libertyville is among the Lake County towns in a position similar to Lake Zurich. In August, the village board agreed to pay a contractor $47,300 for removal of 43 of the largest diameter ash trees, with an estimated 5,000 remaining.
It's the second consecutive budget year in which Libertyville officials allocated funds specially for an emerald ash borer management program to treat or remove infected trees in public areas. The amount for the 2013-14 fiscal year, which began May 1, was $99,500.