They may never see eye to eye on every issue when it comes to tree trimming, but on Wednesday morning the Hannibal Board of Public Works and Tree Board did find some common ground.
What brought the two entities together was the recent trimming of two trees in the front yard of a residence in the 100 block of Shepherd. The owner of the property, who lives in St. Louis, contacted Tree Board Chairwoman Kristy Trevathan about the work of Townsend Tree Service, which is a subcontractor of the BPW.
“This was not the first complaint we’ve had,” noted Trevathan.
Representing the BPW was Jared Stewart, electric line superintendent, who made points with the Tree Board almost immediately when he reported he is encouraging the company to hire a full-time, certified arborist.
Trevathan termed it “our dream” if Townsend were to have an arborist on staff.
Stewart told the Board that 32 percent of the city’s power outages are caused by trees.
“My goal and job is to not have outages,” he said, adding he does not like seeing trees that have been improperly trimmed.
According to Stewart, a major problem is that “people are planting trees in their yards and the city has no voice in where.”
While the city does have setback regulations, Stewart questioned if the guidelines are enforced. It was also suggested that the tree-planting setback guidelines may only apply to the front of homes, and may not take into consideration the proximity of power lines.
Trevathan said a review of the city’s ordinances regarding tree setbacks might be in order, particularly in regard to electric lines.
The BPW rep and Tree Board members agreed that the public needs to be educated on what trees are appropriate for any given location.
“Getting the right tree in the right spot is the first step,” said Ed Tamerius, Tree Board member.
Stewart advised the Board that the BPW has a tree replacement program for homeowners who have a tree that must be removed because of its proximity to power lines.
“I have very few takers on the replacement program and I don’t know why,” he said, acknowledging that additional publicity might be necessary regarding the program.