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Archived News Release from 2004

For Immediate Release

Budget Crunch Forces City to Curtail Street Tree Maintenance

Redwood City, CA - March 30 , 2004 - As a community that prides itself on its urban forest, it is particularly onerous for Redwood City to have to cut back on funds for street tree maintenance. Yet that has unfortunately become necessary as one measure to reduce expenditures in the City’s Public Works Services Department in light of the City’s ongoing budget shortfall.

As a result, requests for “routine” street tree maintenance will no longer be addressed. Instead, pruning requests will be prioritized based only on immediate need. Calls for service will be evaluated and prioritized based on public safety factors including: clearance over sidewalks, streets, or structures; amount of dead wood; and split, broken, or weak limbs.

To further make the best use of very limited resources, the City will concentrate its maintenance using the cost-efficient “block pruning” approach. This method directs efforts to specific areas with the most number of trees requiring pruning, thus increasing productivity by minimizing travel time and the costs of staging equipment and personnel. Using this format, more pruning will take place in critical areas – those areas that contain many trees with large dead branches and/or with clearance issues – with the limited resources available.

This new procedure means that the current service request list for street tree pruning service is being abandoned - this list is no longer valid. In other words, community members may have previously requested street tree pruning and were told that their trees were on the service request list. Now, under the new cost-cutting approach, the pruning requests are being re-evaluated and re-scheduled as appropriate. As a result, some trees in need of only routine pruning will not be pruned at this time. Citizens may still report trees needing pruning, and when the City is made aware of critical pruning needs outside the block pruning area, staff will inspect the trees and prioritize work on a case-by-case basis using public safety criteria.

The City asks for the patience and understanding of its citizens, as staff works to maintain the thousands of Redwood City street trees during these times of shrinking budgets. The community can be assured that the City will continue to focus on providing the highest level of service possible under the circumstances, and remains committed to ensuring that our community’s urban forest remains healthy throughout the City.

Visit Redwood City’s website at www.redwoodcity.org for information about the City and its services, the community, recreation programs, education, City government, and local business.

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Contact:
Gordon Mann
Public Works Superintendent
(650) 780-7464

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