Town of Fraser moves closer to tree removal policy
March 19, 2009
After months of discussion, the Fraser Board of Trustees may have found a solution to an ongoing question ” should the town mandate removal of beetle kill trees from private property?
At Wednesday night’s board meeting, Trustee Joyce Burford suggested a staged plan wherein the town hires a tree removal service on contract to work at a flat fee per tree.
In order for the program to work, enough residents must sign up to participate so that a reduced rate can be profitable to the contractor. The rate will be considerably lower than if residents did the work on their own.
Knowing these are difficult economic times, the board discussed the possibility of setting up payment plans for residents with hazardous trees on their property who cannot afford to pay the entire removal cost up front.
“After that, it becomes easier for us to go the mandatory way (requiring residents to remove trees),” Burford said.
“Whose employ would the contractor be?” asked Mayor Pro-Tem Steve Sumrall. “My concern is the liability standpoint.”
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“It makes sense for the town to contract,” said Town Manager Jeff Durbin, “then we get the volume, the governmental immunity and, for lack of a better term, we enter into an indemnification agreement with property owners.”
Before the town sets up the service for residents, Trustee Eric Hoyhtya asked that the town conduct a cursory survey of town and mark all the lots on a map that need forestry work.
“I know a lot of parties have done the work,” he said. “If there’s not much left to do, if there are only 10 or 20 properties left, maybe this approach wouldn’t be worth it.”
Durbin agreed that by the April 15 board meeting, town staff will have the results of a tree removal survey as well as draft Request for Proposals for the tree removal contract.
“I think homeowners might appreciate this approach,” said Mayor Fran Cook.
“The train is leaving,” Sumrall said. “You have an opportunity to get on board.”
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