Question 4: East Davis neighborhoods have an incredible asset in their city street trees. Unfortunately many of these trees, such as the Modesto Ash, need costly maintenance for mistletoe removal and other problems. Already there are areas where the trees are not getting sufficient help because of stretched budgets. How will you help ensure that the city has the funds to maintain a healthy urban forest and street tree program?
I have a commitment to not cut Parks and Recs, (including Tree maintenance) for this aspect of our town I love dearly. It provides us with a sense of community that no other city service could provide. There will be forced cuts, and the three largest budgets are the Police, Fire, and Parks. If I was forced to, I would cut our oversized Police department before the Parks. Building a solid and harmonious community will do wonders to maintaining Peace, which the Police are important in assisting with.
Davis trees are valuable for their beauty, the value they give to property and the shade, and therefore electricity savings that result. They also reduce the cost of replacing our roads. A fully shaded street lasts 10% longer than a non shaded street. So the street tree maintenance program must be funded. To reduce it would not result in any actual savings to the city. It would simply shift the cost from trees to roads. It is a general fund item, and modest open at that, that I would retain because it is cost effective for the city, in addition to all the other benefits the trees provide to the neighborhood. One caveat-the Modesto Ash trees that we have now are not good street trees because of the amount of care they need. They need to be replaced by more suitable trees as they die off.
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I love the Dr. Plant web resource that the DMNA has included online.
A friend who works in urban forestry advised me that trees filter ozone and other pollutants, reduce the ambient temperature and store rainfall that would otherwise become polluted runoff. Well-forested neighborhoods reduce energy costs. I told him that must be why people feel good in the shade and around trees in general.
Gingkos are the street tree in my neighborhood and we love them.
Davis manor is about 50 years old and the trees are about the same age.
Probably 10-30 years life left in many of them.
We need to do a complete city street tree inventory so we know where we should focus our attention and scarce resources on maintenance and replacement.
Based on that we can plan for removals and replanting -- no more than two in a row at a time to reduce the loss to the canopy -- diversify the age of the trees.
Then partnerships between neighbors and city and others to do plantings.
We should seek some grant $ from tree Davis and California Relief may be available for the inventory.
We will see many impacts on our budget over the next few years. Key is predictability and planning within whatever budget is available.
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Street trees, like traffic calming devices are expenses that bring returns on our investment. The amount of energy saved and the quality of life enhancement are equally important. Historically, we have had an effective program to slowly and incrementally replacing older trees with a short life expectancy in such a manner as to maintain the canopy while assuring future generations the enjoyment of healthy street trees.
Maintenance of street trees in the older part of town is an issue of equity. The newer neighborhoods have wonderful parks and greenbelts which we all support. The equivalent asset in older neighborhoods is the street trees, and maintaining the street trees is essential.
Again, I support measure P, because without sufficient financial resources, we will be facing cut-backs in all areas.