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Friday, March 28, 2008

April is for planting trees … but no more trees for Belmont

Belmont, Mass. - April is when the weather and the soil tilth coincide to give young trees their best start. But this may be the last year any public trees will be planted in Belmont.

No more trees for Belmont. The reason is because the tree-planting budget of $13,000 has been entirely eliminated. No new street trees and likely not in the parks or schoolyards.

Belmont's 11,000 households pay about $1.18 per family to keep the town green, attractive and maintain house prices. For everyone.

Studies have found that bald streets translate into approximately a 10 percent lower selling price than an identical house in a tree shaded area. It takes only a very few years for the aesthetic of a town to be diminished, but it takes many years to catch up if tree replacement is stopped.

Each year about 120 big trees die or become so dangerous that they have to be taken down for public safety. And each spring, about 120 trees are planted to keep Belmont green and attractive. Without replacements, the town will quickly go bald. Penny wise and pound foolish.

This is a difficult financial time in town. Yet, $13,000 for street trees is pennies on the budget. In 2007, $57 million was collected in taxes (up from $37 million in 2000).

Read on

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