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White County, AR

The Daily Citizen

Searcy committee may consider regulation of trees

By Warren Watkins


Wednesday, January 27, 2010 5:27 PM CST

The Daily Citizen

Searcy may be getting greener as a proposal is debated concerning the regulation of trees.

The Searcy Planning, Growth and Transportation Committee met Wednesday to discuss proposals for new policies concerning trees in the city as well as a proposal regulating recreational vehicles (RVís).

To qualify for the Tree City USA program, a town or city must meet standards established by The National Arbor Day Foundation and the National Association of State Foresters, according to City Planner Jim von Tungeln. The standards were established to ensure that every qualifying community would have a viable tree management plan and program.

To participate, each city must have a tree board or department, a responsible person or department responsible for community tree care and a tree ordinance that would designate responsibility for writing and implementing an annual community forestry work plan. The ordinance determines public tree care policies for planting, maintenance, and removals.

The city tree budget must be $2 per capita, and if Searcy has a population of 22,000, as some estimate, the city would have to designate $44,000 for the program to pay for dead and hazardous tree removal, pruning, planting, watering, fertilizing and insect and disease control.

One of the benefits of the tree program is enhancement of the cityís public image and public pride, von Tungeln reported