Evanston aldermen Monday voted to pay more money sooner to inject additional elm trees in Evanston, despite its short-term impact on the city’s budget.
Injecting the 2,290 trees this year will cost $879,400.
Of three other options city staff considered, the one with the least immediate cost would spread the work evenly over three years at a total cost of $993,000. But an estimated 22 additional trees would fall victim to the Dutch Elm disease and have to be removed over the three years because of the slower pace of the injections.
Alderman Judy Fiske, 1st Ward, moved adoption of the plan with the highest initial cost.
But Alderman Coleen Burrus, 9th Ward, said the city is in a budget crisis and shouldn’t be spending the money at all.
Burrus noted that the city’s minority population is declining, at least in part because of Evanston’s high tax levels.
“I’m an environmentalist and loves trees, but we have to look at people first,” Burrus said.
But Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, said that if you’re forced into a short sale on your house and have a stump in front–that’s going to hurt your chances for making the sale.
Alderman Don Wilson, 4th Ward, said he would vote for the option with the higher initial cost, but said that because of the city’s budget crisis “other things will have to be compromised down the road.”
Ultimately only Burrus and Alderman Delores Holmes, 5th Ward, who said she would have supported spreading the program’s cost over three years, voted against the decision to front-load the program’s cost.
Photo of elm leaves from Wikipedia.