"We have a program where we'll supply up to $75 for planting trees on private property," explained Mayor Donald Hartill. "We've had it for many years to provide some beautification of the village via private property owners. We're willing to help them with 75% of the cost of the tree up to $75. There has been a request that instead of a tree some shrubs would be planted. Well, our law is very specific interms of trees."
The request came because a particular planting location lies above a sewer line. Tree roots would eventually interfere with the sewer. Hartill said that allowing the use of the money for shrubbery would protect the Village's infrastructure investment as well as providing value for the property owner.
"It's easier to replace if we have to work on that particular piece of the sewer," he said. "It's a win-win for everybody."
There was discussion about what kinds of plants should be eligible. Hartill said he did not want to restrict allowing shrubbery to special circumstances. But Trustee John O'Neill was concerned the program could get out of hand if it were not specific enough. he said people could get any old shrub that may or may not meet the Village's goals of providing visual buffers, enhancing property values, preserving the identity of the Village, softening the visual impact of structures, providing shade, and nesting cover for birds.
"We have to be carful how we word that," O'Neill said. "If we just say 'shrubs' there will be a problem. We can say shrubs are allowed because they are near sewer."
The Trustees voted to allow shrubs to be substituted for trees if a tree would potentially interfere with Village utilities. Residents can get the assistance for up to two trees per year. Clerk/Treasurer Jodi Dake says that the program has typically paid for between six and 12 trees per year. Typically the Village uses about half the budgeted amount for the year on tree assistance. This year $2,000 was budgeted.
The program recommends 30 species of trees that meet the criteria for the program. Dake said she will consult with a nursery to come up with a list of at least five suitable shrubbery species that meet the new requirements.
A landscaping project will complete the Village's $1.3 million municipal office building. The 2500 square foot building opened in January year with an official ribbon cutting in March. Trustees rejected two significantly more expensive planting plans in early March when Cayuga Landscape's Liz Prugh presented an extensive, densely planted plan priced at $93,000, and a less dense and less costly $43,112 proposal. At that meeting trustees said a phased planting project could help spread out costs, but said they wanted to spend much less while still making the property look nice.
Six companies were asked to submit bids, but only two replied. Of the two, Cayuga Landscape submitted the low bid at $19,369. The plantings will include 275 shrubs and ornamental grasses, seed mix for a meadow, about 1,500 square feet of bark mulch, 19 trees, installation of bio-retention filters, gravel, and the planting and installation, and a one year guarantee. The board voted 4/0 to accept the bid.