Oskaloosa City Council Looks At Emerald Ash Borer Plan

Oskaloosa City Hall

Oskaloosa City Hall

Oskaloosa, Iowa – The Oskaloosa City Council started off their session by hearing from Dylan Mulfinger, Management Analyst for the City of Oskaloosa, in regards to anticipated impact of the Emerald Ash Borer on the City of Oskaloosa.

Mulfinger said that city staff is recommending to begin the process of removing Ash trees in the city right-of-way. Current estimates have 175 trees in the right-of-way areas, and would be removed by private contractors and city staff. Residents who have an Ash tree in the right-of-way can contact the city to identify the tree and add it to the list.

Mulfinger explained that there is a tree replacement program for residents who lose an Ash within the right-of-way. The city staff will compile a list of the trees that are needing removed. The city will then contact the residents who wish to receive a new tree that can be planted on their private property or on a city park. “Staff will work with each resident to ensure proper placement of the tree and educate them on proper care of a tree, if they elect to have the tree planted on their property.”

Updating the city code to reflect new tree standards that ban planting the Ash tree and prevent trees being planted in the right-of-way. This would be added to the current city code that lists banned trees and guidelines on tree planting.

The plan is to have enough variety of new plantings, of different tree species, to help mitigate the impact any new invasive disease may have, such as the Ash Beetle or the Dutch Elm Disease from several decades ago.

The removal of the Ash trees from the city right-of-way will cost an estimated $175,000 based upon an average cost of $800 to $1200 per tree. The Oskaloosa City Council allocated $15,000 of that money for fiscal year 2015 for tree removal. The project will take approximately 10 years to complete.

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