City seeks more bids for tree audit

City seeks more bids for tree audit

By Lucas Irizarry, Staff Reporter

The Green Park Board of Aldermen looked at a bid hiring an arborist to evaluate trees in the city Sept. 19, eventually voting to wait for more bids.

The bid was priced at about $15,000 and required the evaluation of 228 potentially dead or diseased trees in the city. City Administrator James Mello said he reached out to seven companies and only received the one bid.

Mello said the city is running out of time to find an arborist before having to move the project to the spring.

Some aldermen were weary of paying for an arborist over putting money into helping residents cut down trees. Ward 2 Alderman Ron Slattery presented a three-step plan earlier in the meeting which would let the city help residents cut down trees and remove stumps.

“Having waited 10 to 15 years to bring this matter to their attention, we owe it to the residents to help them resolve their tree issues,” Slattery said.

The first step in the plan includes sending a letter to residents regarding the benefits of a healthy tree environment. Step two includes a public notice in the spring regarding deals at certain companies to trim and cut trees. The last step emphasizes the importance of regrowing new trees after cutting is done. 

Slattery was against the contract in anticipation of helping out residents, and other opponents of accepting the bid cited the lack of information due to having one bid. Mello said it was difficult to compare it to other city’s projects since the projects can differ so greatly.

Proponents of approving the bid felt the trees were becoming an ever-increasing danger and needed to be dealt with swiftly.

“It’s a safety issue. If you’ve got a branch coming down on your house or vehicle or person, I don’t think $15,000 makes a difference,” Ward 3 Alderman Joe Monteleone said. “You’re taking a gamble because if a limb falls on somebody … who’s liable?”

The board voted 2-4 to approve the bid — Monteleone and Ward 1 Alderman Michael Broughton voted for the bid, while Slattery, Ward 1 Alderman Carol Hamilton, Ward 2 Alderman Matt Farwig and Ward 3 Alderman Martin Finn voted against.

The city will continue to seek out bids for the project.