“Basic maintenance of our entire infrastructure, of which the parks and the trees are a significant part, is essential,” said Shoaff.
The city has slated $25,000 for treating the ash borer problem. But Al Moll,
“Even if we don't replace the trees, we have to generate some funding just to remove the trees and take them down and make it safe,” said Moll.
Moll says crews will always take care of safety issues, but that doesn't make the problem disappear.
“Now it's incumbent, I think, on all of us to come up with a reasonable and realistic game plan on what we're going to do with it,” said Moll. “But doing nothing is not an option.”
Moll says businesses could donate money, or the funding could come from state or federal levels.
Shoaff says the city should trim in other areas to find the money. If that doesn't happen, he says he might vote against the entire budget.
“If things stood exactly as they are, I think that's a real possibility,” said Shoaff.
The proposed budget includes a one percent pay raise for all city employees, which would cost the city $843,010. But, when asked if he would support getting rid of that to pay for trees, Shoaff said no.
“We do value our city employees highly, and we want to remain competitive with other cities,” said Shoaff.
Shoaff says there are plenty of places to cut—just not trees.
“I'm looking at things that I think maybe should be less of a priority than basic maintenance of our system,” said Shoaff.
Council members must submit their proposed cuts by Friday at noon. Council is expected to vote on the entire budget Tuesday, October 26.