Town of Fraser underwhelmed by tree-removal proposals
Sky-Hi Daily News
Grand County, Colorado
Fraser’s quest to make town safer from the threat of wildfire means enticing property owners with rock-bottom logging prices.
But town officials are still grappling with how that might be achieved.
The Town of Fraser is reviewing six tree-removal proposals it has received out of a total of 20 inquiries it had from the logging community.
The impetus behind the town’s search for a company it could contract to remove beetle-kill trees on private properties is to incite property owners to address their dead and dying trees around town, board officials said.
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Hoping to pass on a low per-tree flat rate to its citizens, however, board officials wondered at their meeting last Wednesday whether proposals reflect prices low enough to make a program worth pursuing.
Prices ranged from a $20-a-tree proposal – that “didn’t address 95 percent of the issues in the (request for proposal),” said Town Manager Jeff Durbin – to Ptarmigan and other steep neighborhoods at $150 per tree.
At least one company suggested the use of a crane in the tight-lotted Ptarmigan area.
With billing and liability a town consideration, board members wondered if the proposals were competitive enough compared to going rates; otherwise, should the town even be involved?
“If these (proposals) aren’t significantly cheaper, if we can’t negotiate a better deal, we shouldn’t be doing this at all,” said Trustee Joyce Burford.
“We need an air-curtain burner on this end (of the county) to dispose of it,” said Trustee Steve Sumrall.
Long-distance disposal locations greatly impact tree pricing, he said.
Town staff was instructed to investigate going rates in the area and find price estimates for an air-curtain burner rental.
“I’m saying, the public interest here is trees that are blowing over and fire (hazards),” Durbin said.
“We’re not going to solve the beetle problem with this.”
The way the town’s program would work? Only willing property owners would participate. The town would invoice property owners after trees were removed from their lots.
The town’s ultimate action would be to pass a tree-removal ordinance with penalties mandating property owners remove their dead trees.
– Tonya Bina can be reached at 887-3334 ext. 19603 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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