The proposed CIP suggests beginning a rotation of proactive maintenance of the urban forest beginning in FY 2022. If funding were provided, can staff commence the proactive maintenance schedule on an earlier timeline? Could resources be shifted from the Tree & Shrub Capital Maintenance project to allow for proactive maintenance to be implemented earlier? Are there other possible sources of funding within the CIP?
If funding is provided earlier than FY 2022, staff can commence the proactive maintenance program on an earlier timeline. The program will address Recommendation #39 of the Urban Forestry Master Plan (2009): Plan, fund, and implement a five-year pruning cycle for all established trees and a three-year establishment program for new trees planted along City streets, in parks, and on school and other public properties. Recommendation #39 is identified as a high priority, mid-term goal.
The Tree and Landscaping Capital Improvement Project provides approximately $213,000 annually for the tree planting program and $113,000 annually for the landscape refurbishing program. These figures are approximate and may change based on the specific landscape projects identified for each year. FY 2018 includes additional funding for projects that were deferred from FY 2017. Approximately 515 trees are planted each year through the capital tree planting program, half of which are adopted and half of which receive a three-year establishment program through the City. The majority are replacements along streets to help ensure no net loss of trees, another recommendation of the Urban Forestry Master Plan. The funding for the annual landscape refurbishing program allows periodic replacement of dead plantings, drainage, and soil in the medians, parks, recreation centers, City Hall, and other public buildings. The current level of funding allows a minimum level of upkeep of 112 landscape areas maintained by the City.
Shifting of resources from these two programs will require:
Reducing or eliminating the annual tree planting program. This will further delay the implementation of the Urban Forestry Master Plan goal of attaining 40% tree canopy in the City;
Further reducing the upkeep of the landscaped areas at City facilities, including possibly eliminating some areas. The annual maintenance cycles for these landscape areas were reduced in the FY 2017 Operating Budget, and the proposed FY 2018 Operating Budget includes eliminating weeding and mulching of all (approximately 42) landscape areas in medians.
Reallocation of funds from other sources within the CIP will impact other priority projects.