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Letter: Trees’ value is beyond treatment cost

Published: Monday, Aug. 4, 2014 11:34 a.m. CDT

To the Editor:

Wasting $25,000 of hard-earned tax money certainly is not a good thing. Anyone not disgusted with the present rate of public spending needs his or her head examined.

In a July 24 editorial, the Daily Chronicle explained how the City of DeKalb’s Emerald Ash Borer prevention program to save almost 1,000 parkway ash trees from imminent destruction may not be worthwhile:  “…ash trees are not the only species capable of providing (desirable) benefits”.  The editorial concludes removal “might” be a better alternative.

This sounds good.  Inexplicably and conspicuously absent from this suggestion, however, is the fact these trees approach $2 million in itemized local property values, according to nationally accepted appraisal practices.  Also missing is the fact $25,000 is less than the interest our seriously indebted city would pay annually to borrow almost $1 million to cut and replace 1,000 trees with something somewhat larger than a twig.  Because DeKalb saved these valuable assets, are we supposed to care that Sycamore didn’t? 

Clanton Tree Company saved the vast majority of these 1,000 ash trees designated for treatment, even though many were already infested when the program began in 2012, and did so for much less than $25,000 the past two years.

More than 400 of DeKalb’s public ash trees are very large and beautiful, extremely valuable, and irreplaceable in the lifetime of all but the very youngest of us.  For those who have time to wait for a twig to grow into a real tree, there will be little shade and beauty to appreciate for decades to come.  

Dave Clanton

DeKalb

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