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  • Kent Casson

Tree talk returns to council meeting

Sarah Michaels speaks to members of the Chenoa City Council on Tuesday.

Trees were once again the talk of the Chenoa City Council Tuesday night.

Local resident and volunteer Sarah Michaels appeared before the group, pointing to a successful maintenance program with recent tree plantings around town. She said more mulch is needed on Old Route 66, which will help to maintain moisture in the root balls. A deep root fertilization is also needed.

“The next watering is tomorrow morning and they are in excellent shape,” noted Michaels.

In a related matter at Tuesday’s regular council meeting, commissioners unanimously voted down the formation of a tree board with the mayor abstaining. Streets Commissioner Joseph Bell does not believe the city should get involved with this, pointing to liability and insurance concerns.

“What happens if somebody gets hurt planting these?” said Bell.

While he supports the tree efforts in town, Bell feels this needs to be a separate entity from the city.

“This is supposed to be an enhancement,” stated Michaels. “It’s not supposed to be a pain in the bark.”

Parks Commissioner Chad Daiker said he believes in small government with the least number of programs possible, so he does not see the benefit of this. Finance and Insurance Commissioner Kyle Buchanan has no problem with what has been accomplished regarding trees, but does not feel there needs to be another city board.

Bell also presented further information on the sale of city leaf equipment, which was valued at $6,389 several years ago with another $1,000 for the trailer. The leaf vac was purchased in 2014. Bell was told it could be worth $3,500 to $4,000 now, although the trailer does not have much value.

“I’m thinking about $4,500 for a starting number,” said Bell.

The mayor and council seemed to agree with that number.

An ordinance amending the city code was authorized to allow leaf burning throughout the year as the city is doing away with the leaf vacuum. Burning will still only be allowed on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

“Those rules remain the same as they were,” Mayor Chris Wilder explained. “They will be allowed to burn year-round on those days.”

The council reserves the right to consult with the Fire Department if conditions turn extremely dry where a burn ban can be put in place.

During council comments, Bell reported street employees are currently working on the Fourth of July preparation list with standard cleanup and other projects. Water and Sewer Commissioner Lee Reinhart said his department will assist the street department with preparation work during the next couple of weeks. Reinhart also reminded everyone about the increase in water rates when the next bills are issued.

He urged residents to give phone numbers, e-mail addresses and other contact information to City Hall for the communication system.

“We need residents to come in and give us that information,” said Reinhart.

Daiker reported good things happening at the swimming pool with strong business and a repaired pool heater.

Mayor Wilder encouraged residents to lock their doors and secure personal belongings after businesses in Towanda suffered damage. He also noted there are plenty of scams going around.

“They love to hit the elderly.”

If anyone has questions on these crime issues, Wilder said the police department can help out.

The council approved the Fiscal Year 2021-2022 budget along with June 8 meeting minutes, executive session minutes and the bills.

During public comment, one gentleman expressed concerns over the lack of fish at Silliman Pond, asking if it has been restocked. He claimed he has not caught a single fish all summer.

“It was stocked in 2014 or 2015 and again in 2018,” added the mayor, who noted this issue will be looked into.

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