Lake Zurich officials are about to make a significant financial commitment to rid the village of public trees infected by the emerald ash borer.
Village board members Monday night will be asked to approve a three-year contract with McGinty Bros. Inc. of Long Grove. McGinty would remove as many public ash trees as possible for a maximum of $224,000 in each of the three years, unless additional funding is approved.
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Lake Zurich has about 2,700 publicly owned ash trees in parkways targeted for removal. Village officials say there is concern with dead and dying trees with a caliper of 12 inches or larger posing a safety hazard.
Under the original plan, the village would have contracted for a combination of ash removal and planting of replacement trees over 10 years. However, Director of Community Services Michael Earl explained at a recent village board session why it's preferable to go with a revised plan to start with aggressive removal of the ash trees in the next three years. He said the proposal to concentrate on the ash removal was done in collaboration with village government's volunteer tree commission.
"We think that for several reasons -- the unsightliness of the dead or diseased trees, and the hazardous nature of the trees should limbs fall and cause damage to person or property -- it makes sense to expedite the removal portion of our (emerald ash borer) plan," Earl said.
All village-owned parkway ash trees are projected for removal by mid- to late-2016. Lake Zurich intends to begin parkway replacement tree planting in 2017.
Tree commission Chairman Scott Garrison told village officials he agreed with the aggressive removal plan after seeing the state of the parkway ashes when he drove through every village neighborhood.
"Literally, our urban forest is going to suffer from this," Garrison said.
Village documents show Lake Zurich would get more bang for its $224,000 annually for the ash tree removal from McGinty than three other responsible bidders.
McGinty would charge $215 for each tree 12 to 18 inches in diameter. McGinty's per-tree charge for the size range compares to $287.40 for Wauconda's Homer Tree Care Inc., $305 for The Care of Trees in Barrington and $475 for Trees "R" Us of Wauconda.