Bartlett officials will ramp up their fight against a tiny beetle, setting aside an extra $1.1 million to cut down trees destroyed by the emerald ash borer.
Two summers of dry conditions, followed by a harsh winter, accelerated the decline of trees infested by the beetle native to Asia. That one-two punch also quashed expectations that at least 25 percent of infected trees in the village would survive.
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After a survey of all the emerald ash borers in town, public works officials say crews now have to uproot more than 4,000 trees.
"Since we have more, we need to spend more and pick up the pace because our residents would really like to get those dead trees out of their front yards," village Administrator Valerie Salmons said.
Trustees have agreed to extend a contract with Trees "R" Us Inc. -- whose crews typically remove 20 trees per day -- through September 2015.
The deal previously was expected to cost $300,000 next year, but the village board agreed this week to pay the Wauconda contractor up to $1.4 million. The extra money will come from a developer deposits fund.
Public works crews also will remove at least 700 smaller trees by fall 2015.
"If we have decent weather for this winter, and they can continue to remove during the winter, we should beat that (timeline) quite a bit," Public Works Director Dan Dinges said.
In the next few weeks, village officials are developing a map to let residents track the progress of the campaign and when crews are scheduled to target a neighborhood. The map likely will be posted on village.bartlett.il.us.
"You can't just jump from place to place and cut down trees," Mayor Kevin Wallace said. "You've got to do it in sections."
Meanwhile, the work to cut down trees is outpacing the plantings of new ones.
To date, 1,856 trees ravaged by the borer have been removed in Bartlett.
The village plans to replace 700 to 1,000 annually with a diverse mix of varieties.
Bartlett will pick up the tab for planting 1-inch, curbside trees. If homeowners want 2-inch trees, they must pay a $50 fee and choose from two lists of species for spring or fall plantings.
This fall, residents can have their pick of Kentucky coffee tree or European hornbeam.