Tonawanda News — During budget talks Tuesday, North Tonawanda Department of Public Works Supervisor Brad Rowles told the common council he would like to put an increased emphasis on caring for the city’s aging tree stock for 2014.
With Mayor Rob Ortt’s $5.56 million budget proposal for the DWP, up $350,000 from the current fiscal year, Rowles said he will conduct an internal search to find the money to purchase a new truck with the capabilities to trim and remove trees.
But at a cost of $170,000 and with the DPW’s operational costs $67,000 in the black this year, Rowles said he will retool efforts to cover the price of the vehicle without requesting more money from the current budget proposal.
Rowles said since he took over as chief of the department three years ago and with several million dollars in local and federal dollars budgeted for the city’s main roads during that timeframe, he’s seen a drastic reduction in complaints about the condition of the streets and a rise in those who call in about fallen or rotted trees.
“We really didn’t get as many calls about the roads this year,” he said. “Now I get three a day on trees.”
Several council members, including President Rich Andres, said they too have seen a flood of calls from constituents, requesting services for trees on city-owned land next to their homes.
Rowles said many silver maples planted “50, 60, 70 years ago,” have reached the end of their life meaning they need to be trimmed or taken down.