When your annual budget is $2,600, receiving a gift of a few extra hundred dollars is a big deal. That is why members of the Hannibal Tree Board were smiling Wednesday morning after receiving a $500 donation from the Salt River Master Gardeners.
“We have a very small budget,” said Kristy Trevathan, chairwoman of the Tree Board, who noted after buying mulch and other supplies, and sometimes replacement trees, there is little of the budgeted funds left over. “This donation comes at a good time.”
There is a good chance much of the donation will be used to replace trees that didn’t survive this summer’s extreme heat and severe drought. A preliminary survey has revealed that approximately a dozen trees on public property will need to be replaced.
“Tree replacement will be a big thing in 2013,” said Trevathan.
However, some or all of the additional funds may not go for replacement trees. During the October Tree Board meeting a proposal was discussed to use the donation to help pay for arborist training for a member of the Parks & Recreation Department’s staff or possibly the Street Department.
At that time, Andy Dorian, director of the Parks Department, said the training could raise a personnel issue since whoever received the instruction would then be in line for a salary increase. He added that when his department has needed to consult a certified arborist, it has been able to talk with Chris Wilson of Wilson Tree Service.
In October, City Manager Jeff LaGarce indicated he would speak with representatives of the Street Department and Engineer’s Department regarding the training possibility.
Representing the Salt River Master Gardeners at the Wednesday’s meeting were Mike and Margaret McKay. Mike McKay explained that the organization used to fund two scholarships at John Wood Community College. However, when the school dropped its horticulture program the master gardeners began looking for other potential sites where the money could be donated.
In addition to the Tree Board, this year the Salt River Master Gardeners have made a $500 contribution to a restoration project being undertaken at the Marion County Fairgrounds in Palmyra.
Because the organization features members from other Northeast Missouri communities, Mike McKay said it is hoped that donations next year could be made to appropriate programs or projects in Monroe City and Perry.
Once the Tree Board determines how this year’s donation will be spent it promised the McKays that the master gardeners organization will be notified.