Below is the work plan for fiscal year 2004
During fiscal year 2004 tree maintenance in the City of Newton consisted of tree removal, response pruning (i.e. citizen requests and minor emergencies), preservation pruning and tree planting. On a daily basis tree maintenance work is conducted by a private contractor. A typical weekly schedule consists of tree removals on Mondays with the remaining days consisting of pruning. This schedule varies depending on the season. During the winter months removals are not done. The City removed 298 trees, the majority because they were dead or dying and posed a serious hazard to the public. A small number of trees were removed do to conflicts with construction. The number of phone calls and complaints has steadily risen over the last ten years. The increase in complains has caused the City to focus the majority of its pruning efforts on response pruning. 759 trees were spot pruned in response to citizen concerns. The remaining pruning efforts went into preservation pruning. This pruning focused on a street by street pruning in the Newton Centre and Newton Highlands section of Newton. Each tree on the streets the crews went to were pruned according to their needs. This pruning resulted in a dramatic drop in the number of emergency calls typically received from that area. 783 trees were pruned during preservation pruning.
The Director of Urban Forestry and the City’s Urban Tree Commission began re-drafting the City’s “Tree Manual”. The document has not been updated since it was first written in 1995. The Manual is the guiding document for the management of the City’s trees. The new manual will take a more comprehensive look at how all aspects of the urban forest interact. Once complete (mid 2005) the manual will be used in all aspects of managing the trees of Newton.
For fiscal year 2005 the tree maintenance operations will continue in a similar fashion. For FY05 the tree maintenance budget will not increase, however prices for work will. It is anticipated that there will be approximately 350 tree removals 400 trees spot pruned with no trees preservation pruned from the operating budget. See attached maintenance activity schedule.
Planed for the FY05 is the development of a Tree Management Information System. This system will allow the City to better respond to requests. Most importantly it will provide the tree manager with the necessary data to make timely decisions and justify budgetary needs.
Additional funds will be spent on preservation pruning and tree planting during FY2005. These funds are made available from the City’s Tree Preservation Ordinance. Money received from developers who choose not to replant the required number if caliper inches will be used in the areas closest to the development. It is anticipated that over 2000 trees will be pruned using these funds and that over 150 trees will be planted.
Trees in Lexington
The Tree subdivision, plant and maintain trees on Town property. The Tree subdivision maintains an undetermined number of trees on town streets, in parks and on conservation lands, and numerous shrub bed plantings on park, cemetery and properties along public ways. The objectives of the tree maintenance program are to identify and reduce hazardous conditions that threaten public and private property, to resolve requests for service and emergencies in a timely fashion and to increase the health of the urban forest through planning and a proper maintenance program. Trees are planted annually, but too few to balance the number of trees removed. The subdivision works closely with the Town’s Tree Committee to determine priorities for a reforestation plan including optimum placement and species selection of new trees.
- Increased funding has been requested to cover costs for the rental of a bucket truck and not supported by the Mayor’s budget. The sign truck used by the Department in past years has been grounded due to unsafe conditions.
- No funding for planting has been included in this years operating budget; future funding will be submitted with in the capital budget framework
- Historic funding levels have not met demand and annual appropriations have fallen short; level funding FY05 with the assistance of a tree climber, as proposed, would have allowed funding to more accurately cover costs.
Goal: Reduce the Town’s liability by identifying and significantly reducing any existing hazardous tree conditions
Objective - Through a regular process of inspection, identify and eliminate public shade tree hazards that could threaten the public and/or private property, pedestrians and vehicular traffic. One-third (1/3) of the town should be annually inspected.
Goal: Enhance the Town’s street tree canopy by planting trees to replace those removed.
Objective - Find alternative funding sources to provide tree stock for division staff to plant and/or in-kind services, including grants and Utility betterments