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Let Madison Homeowners Plant Terrace Trees, Help City Budget Woes

August 23, 2011

Everyone is well-aware that the upcoming budget cycle for the City of Madison is going to be one of the more contentious and problematic in recent memory.  With a nearly $15 million budget hole to fill there will be needed property tax increases, and budget cuts to allow for a final package that will balance the books.

I am most confident that we will reach a consensus at some point on what needs to be done to get through this hard time.  But in order to insure that the future needs of this wonderful city that so many are proud to call home does not sustains long-term damage we need to think outside the box.

This week a wide array of proposed budget cuts were submitted from city agencies.    While there were tough cuts proposed in law enforcement and fire protection, there were also cuts to such programs as reducing street tree replacements.   In light of the deep changes to city revenue that needs to be enacted, how might the average citizen make a difference?

Since every dollar saved, or program not undermined to the degree that it otherwise might be, I advocate for a less restrictive attitude for terrace tree plantings. 

I grew up in a home in central Wisconsin that was shaded by tall mature trees.  Our home in Madison is located among tall trees, and two 200-plus year old trees are not far away.  I have a deeply held affection for trees.  The trees we enjoy today were the product of thoughtful people a long time ago.

We should do no less for future generations.  That is why the reduction in street tree replacements is worrisome.

Mayor Soglin and the city council should allow for homeowners to buy trees, and pay for the planting.  The city could advise on placement as long as it did not refuse to allow for the beautification of a terrace.  In this way the city could continue to have plantings it needs, without the cost that at this time would be counterproductive to the larger budget needs.

I know there are those who have over time taken the initiative and added trees, and rather large expensive ones to their terrace.  Now let us take the next step and make the city more of a working partner for those who want to ante up the money and make this city more green, and even more of a place we are proud to call home.

2 Comments
  1. August 24, 2011 1:44 PM

    I want to allow for homeowners to plant large type canopy trees, and not be mandated to plant the smaller ones that seems to be the rage.

  2. Solly permalink
    August 24, 2011 1:37 PM

    I think the city recovers at least some of the cost from an assessment on the property owners now. I’ve seen the agenda items on the council meetings. Can you imagine the stories when some little old lady wants to plant a certain tree and the city has to say no? Modern arbor management practices will see that we have a balanced mix of trees, and avoid the situation where we had 90% elm, to be replaced by 90% ash, and then have the problems where those species are devastated by pests and disease and we only have replacement saplings for a decade.

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