New Canaan’s highest elected official said last week that the town may consider a program where residents could donate toward the purchase of public trees that municipal workers then would plant in order to replace those that get taken down.
Town officials might consider allocating $100,000 in about $6 million of American Rescue Plan Act funds toward such an initiative “because we haven’t had a replacement program,” according to First Selectman Kevin Moynihan.
“We often take down trees in the right-of-way, which are important to the landscape—but perhaps we ought to have residents be able to donate a tree that we would plant if they were willing to donate a tree,” Moynihan said during the Nov. 1 Board of Selectmen meeting, held at Town Hall and via videoconference.
The comment came during the Board’s consideration of a request to award a $31,301 contract to Mill River Tree Service for the removal, pruning and stump removal of 15 trees throughout town.
Selectman Kathleen Corbet asked whether there’s a line item in the budget for replacing public trees that the town takes down.
“Is there something that we have as a separate line item, just as the carbon replacement if you will?” Corbet said.
Public Works Director Tiger Mann, who presented the contract request on behalf of the tree warden, said “We don’t have a line item per se.”
“We have a tree maintenance line that we can then utilize to plant trees,” Mann said. “But we also work and rely heavily on the Beautification League, the [Waveny Park] Conservancy, the Garden Club and others whereby they buy the tree and our forces plant them,” Mann said.
He added that 15 trees purchased with help from a Sustainable CT grant recently were planted at Waveny.
According to Mann, the town received three bids for the contract, ranging up to $47,000.
“In keeping with our notes from before, about three-quarters of these trees are ash trees,” Mann said. “As it has been in the past, we continue to have this problem. For a number of years, unfortunately.”
Moynihan, Corbet and Selectman Nick Williams voted 3-0 in favor of the contract. Trees that will be removed as part of the work include three—a black birch, oak and maple—from the area of the Mead Park pickle ball courts, according to the contract.