West Tisbury spends to remove dead trees
In what chairman Dianne Powers called "a record-setting" brief 22-minute meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 23, the West Tisbury board of selectmen agreed to spend more money than budgeted on the removal of dead trees from town roadways.
Executive secretary Jen Rand told selectmen that the lowest of five bids received from tree removal companies was approximately $17,600. The bid does not include the additional cost of police traffic details.
The town allocated $10,000 for tree removal in the 2010 fiscal year budget. Ms. Rand said that without additional money the tree removal effort would have to be cut back to only the "worst of the worst" among the trees that should be cut and removed.
The selectmen agreed to forward a request to the finance committee to approve a transfer from the reserve fund for the additional money.
"When I prepared that budget I did not know how many trees would be dead," tree warden Jeremiah Brown told The Times in a telephone call Tuesday. The original estimate was that 10 to 20 trees would need to be removed. Mr. Brown had also expected a portion of the budget to be available for new tree planting to replace those lost to the winter moth caterpillar destruction.
However, after two or three years of repeated defoliation by caterpillars there are approximately 100 dead trees along town roads now marked by a pink X. That number includes 27 on Old County Road and another 25 on North Road, Mr. Brown said. "The longer we go without bringing down these trees the branches become more and more brittle and go into the roadways," Mr. Brown said. "I would rather see the trees come down than fall down and hurt somebody."
Mr. Brown hopes to begin the removal of trees in mid-October.
In other business, the selectmen acknowledged receipt of four letters favoring the continuing of the up-island town distributed antenna system (DAS) project. The Chilmark special permit zoning hearing has been continued until November 30 at the request of American Tower Company (ATC). According to ATC spokesperson Alex Gamota, ATC still has not secured a carrier to provide service and ATC wants to have that commitment in place before proceeding with the zoning process.
Also announced was the upcoming All-Island Selectmen's meeting scheduled for 7 pm on Wednesday, Oct. 7, at the West Tisbury Public Safety Building. The selectmen are expected to discuss the H1N1 vaccination process.