Who wants to blog on a holiday weekend? Not many, I'm sure. I spent the morning planting a ton of bare root trees and am, literally, bushed. So, as I rest the weary bones for a few minutes, I thought I'd mention one of life's little oddities from around here. Speaking of trees.
During the past several months there has been ongoing controversy about who should pay for the repair of city sidewalks where tree roots have done damage. It's an issue that seems to be continuously under study. The problem being, the city planted the trees and put in the sidewalks yet expects the home owners to have the walks repaired. Many are in the older parts of town where the less than affluent live and can ill afford the expenditure. A discussion of ideas was printed in the City Streets column in the Coeur d'Alene Press a few weeks back. The issue is if the residents don't pay for the repair where would the money come from? Not an easy question to answer. Here is why.
In the same column, today, the headline reads Street tree planting project announced. The trees are free. They are provided by the Urban Forestry division of the Parks Department. Parks Department? Not the Street Department? They are paid for from a street tree fee that is collected as a part of the cost of residential building permits. If the builder plants the tree he can get his money refunded, otherwise it goes to the purchase of trees for the neighborhoods where the builder opted not to plant.
Is this clear yet? As mud! The article goes on to say the trees will be planted by a contract tree planting service. It doesn't make clear if the home owner who wants the tree has to pay for this service or if it's part of the fee the builder paid. However, the owner does have to feed, water and otherwise nurture this investment.
In time, the roots will grow, the sidewalks will heave and those very same homeowners will probably still be expected to pay for repairs.
The Street Department, the Parks Department, the builder or the homeowner. It seems like a shell game. Who's going to pay what? I'd make good and sure I knew if I were going to be around long enough to watch that old tree grow.
That shady old tree.