News release from the George Guido campaign:
Ash Tree Replacement Project Should be a Model for Fiscal Responsibility
George Guido proposes an ordinance to replace Ash trees and frame future fiscal discussions
City Council At-Large candidate George Guido proposed an ordinance for the efficient removal and replacement of Ash trees and how this unique problem may provide a framework for future discussions on fiscal responsibility. He recalled observing the aggressive, latent discussions regarding budget cuts this year, which came too late, went unresearched and were used as political fodder. It is important for the next city council to find new ways to keep the budget flat, while taking an active approach in using tax payer dollars to meet the demands on the city’s budget. The unique circumstances surrounding the removal and replacement of Ash trees throughout Fort Wayne exemplifies the bottom-up analysis that should be used for approaching proper implementation of procedures in projects requiring city funds.
Guido stated, “With job creation and retention and economic development being priority for our tax payer dollars, we must ensure that we properly carry out essential projects like the removal and replacement of Ash trees with the funds already allocated; and these projects must be completed under budget.” Since the identification of the Emerald Ash borer, it is expected that Fort Wayne will lose over 12,000 Ash trees and be burdened with approximately a $1,000,000 expense for their replacement and the protection of existing trees. Citizens in neighborhoods like Lindenwood and Southwood Park know the real costs of such damages. As he walks through neighborhoods like these, he is approached by citizens wondering when their trees will be removed and replaced; many offering to undertake the task at their expense.
Any private citizen willing to hire qualified experts to remove and replace these trees should be permitted to do so and the city council should offer an ordinance allowing for this intervention. This allows for timely removal and replacement of our tree canopy at no expense to city wide tax payers and limits the city’s overall costs. This sort of bottom-up approach should be discussed for any project where the city is required to expend resources. Guido went on to say that, “Every project can be approached with various initiatives, from the offering of city ordinances to the maintaining of proper project oversight procedures and every avenue should be considered.”
He further stated that as we replace trees, we need to be aware that these replacements can cause future damages and costs to the city. As one walks through our neighborhoods they will quickly observe how trees may cause significant damage to our streets and sidewalks. Such concrete repairs are costly and consume funds allocated to each district, but this can be avoided. These projects are important to citizens and it is city council’s responsibility to ensure that further expenses are avoided by properly implemented projects. He said, “This should be a priority with every city project; we cannot afford to further extend our budget unnecessarily.”
With budget cuts permeating city council discussions, it is a priority to find new ways to save tax payer dollars. It’s not through global cuts, but rather through the proper implementation of projects completed under budget. City Council must work with the city administration and departments to eliminate wasteful project spending. We cannot expect to cut a budget through line item elimination, rather to be good stewards of tax payer dollars, council must effectively work with each other and the administration on projects and avoid bi-partisanship.