Ridgewood Shade Tree Comission Meeting Minutes 20190326

Shade Tree Commission Open Public Meeting 3-26-2019

In attendance: Michael Sedon council member, Dan Cramblitt Village employee, Declan Madden Village arborist, Andrew Lowary Chair, Carolyn Jacoby, Ian Keller, Manish
The meeting was opened with a discussion by Mr. Lowery stating the Shade Tree Commission (STC) needs to complete a Village-wide street tree inventory before it can apply for reforestation grants from organizations such as the state Shade Tree Federation. Mr. Lowery has spoken with the Village’s grant writing firm Millennium Strategies and will work on a grant with them and Mr. Sedon for $10,000 to fund a partial tree inventory. A full tree inventory costs between $40,000-$50,000.
Mr. Sedon stated that funds remain from the 2018 tree replacement program in a line item in the Graydon Pool capital account C-04-55-9BT-195 in the amount of $50,000 according to Village Treasurer Stephen P. Sanzari.
Mr. Cramblitt explained that the funds were placed in the Graydon capital account for the fall 2018 tree planting, but was never spent since 2018’s tree planting was funded through the Engineering Department’s paving budget as part of an ongoing effort to look at entire streetscapes while paving. Mr. Sedon said the funds could be repurposed by the Village Council for a full tree inventory. Funds for the Adopt-A-Tree program are held in a separate trust fund, which is currently empty as last year’s Adopt-A-Trees were planted.
Mr. Lowery confirmed that there is $1,200 available for expenses related to the Earth Day fair and will expense all costs in a report.
It was reported that there is $7,000 and $34,000 available for various STC projects, but those numbers need to be confirmed.
Mr. Keller and Mr. Lowery met with Village Manager Heather Mailander, and Village CFO Robert Rooney to discuss moving a Central Business District tree well rehabilitation project forward. Mr. Lowery will work with engineering to determine the specifications for bidding such a project, and he said it would be nice to get it going for spring time.
Mr. Lowery reiterated that a tree inventory is necessary for major grants, and Ms. Jacoby agreed that it was the architectural plan for tree planting. Mr. Madden added that the sooner the Village completes an inventory, the sooner it can begin applying for major grants. Mr. Keller said a base cost for an inventory might be $38,000 with additional costs for additional items.
Manish said he trained on iTree , and the program is cloud based, which would not require downloading it onto a specific device. Mr. Keller and Mr. Madden will meet to discuss what exactly to bid on for a tree inventory. The STC agreed that STC 2018 tree replacement funds should be repurposed for an inventory.
The STC discussed the Earth Day fair which Mr. Lowery and Ms. Jacoby would be present for, while Mr. Sedon, Mr. Keller, Mr. Cramblitt and Mr. Madden could not attend because of planned vacations. Ms. Jacoby said the STC could provide items for its table and prizes to raffle such as tree pruners. The STC will be giving away tree whips at the fair. Mr. Cramblitt said they were not in as of this meeting, but the whips would be available for Earth Day.
Mr. Lowery said he would set up a date where Village resident s could pick up potted trees from the nursery since the STC is abandoning the project for lack of interest.
Mr. Sedon said the Village Council would read an Arbor Day proclamation April 10th to complete the Village’s 2019 Tree City application.
Ms. Jacoby noted that the Adopt-A-Tree costs have been increased to $450, and she circulated a communication plan to promote the 2019 program. Mr. Lowery stated that communications must be clearer, changes need to be made to the website and a clearer statement on how to get involved in the STC.
Mr. Cramblitt stated that each time the Village removes a street tree or one is taken down by a storm it automatically gets put on a new tree replacement list. He also said the $10,500 line item for tree replacement in the Parks Department budget is for trees in Village-owned parks, not street trees. A list exists for tree replacements by zone according to the Village’s recycling map with areas A;B;C and D.
Mr. Cramblitt explained that engineering and its contractors work with Mr. Madden and the Parks Department to determine where the replacement trees should be planted as part of the paving budget. Mr. Lowery noted that virtually all trees are planted wrong with “mulch volcanos” which eventually kill the trees. He said better supervision is needed to prevent this in the future.
Ms. Jacoby met Janet Fricke and Nancy Bigos to discuss a theme for the 2020 Village calendar “Parks, Recreation and trees.
Mr. Lowery made a motion to adjourn the meeting seconded by Ms. Jacoby.
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