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Breaking down the expensive fight to save Rochester Ash trees

ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) – Where does Rochester’s fight against Emerald Ash Borer stand today?

City council will get an update from the city forester at the committee of the whole meeting Monday afternoon. They’ll be taking a close look at the finances involved battling the pest.

City documents indicate tree mortality is on the rise. 1,800 trees were infected last year. That’s up from about 400 just two years earlier.

The city spent nearly $270,000 on Emerald Ash Borer in 2018, compared to just $24,000 in 2015.

Estimated costs for 2019 is about $26,000 greater than the budget allocated for the work. According to the forester’s presentation, addressing the shortfall could mean planting fewer replacement trees.

City Forester Jeff Haberman says the plan needs to be adjusted or the city will be over budget.

“Council asked us to look at the emerald ash borer management plan and manipulate some numbers. See how treating more tree is gonna will affect that bottom line,” Haberman said. “They also asked us to take a look at our ordinance and consider stopping inspections at private properties.”

Haberman says he and his team plan to come back to the council with a revised ordinance in the coming weeks, all of that an effort to deal with the invasive species.

Jacob Murphey

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