In an effort to save some cash, the Department of Public Works want to transfer responsibility of 24,000 street trees to private property owners. Two-thirds of the street trees are already cared for by private property owners. The proposal is in Mayor Lee's budget submission and would save the DPW about $600,000 next year.
Richmond District Blog SF reports that the proposal came out just a few months after Mayor Lee helped honor Charlie Starbuck, a community member who has planted over 7,000 trees nearly every weekend over the past 30 years. He then said "a healthy and vibrant urban forest is a gift we can give to the future generations of our City. I am proud to support San Francisco's Arbor Day, which focuses on not just planting trees, but maintaing them." The Friends of the Urban Forest are calling Mayor Lee's proposed cuts "a tragedy," citing concern for the health of existing trees and the unanticipated costs of tree maintenance that private property owners would have to take on.
At Monday's Board of Supervisors City Operations and Neighborhood Service Committee (say that three times fast) hearing on the proposal, Supervisor John Avalos suggested the City come up with another way to find funding. "I have been concerned about it. It makes some sense that we can figure out to prevent that from happening," Avalos said.
· DPW cost-saving tree plan faces resistance [SF Examiner]
· Proposed budget cuts would force property owners to care for sidewalk trees [Richmond SF Blog]
[the color // of maples via Matt Jalbert]