GROUNDS MAINTENANCE/City surveys region’s forestry practices
Kenosha, Wis., has surveyed area communities to examine urban forestry practices in the Kenosha region. Administered by the city’s Park Division, the survey assisted Park Superintendent Terrence Flatley in proposing his 2001 budget for labor and equipment.
“We did the survey specifically for budget purposes,” Flatley says. “We were looking at adding staff for our forestry crews, and we compiled this information as a comparison. The people in the budget hearings are always asking what other cities are doing.”
Twenty-five communities were surveyed last summer, and responses were compiled in October. Nine cities participated, offering information about community population, the number of street trees in the community, staff numbers, equipment usage, wage rates, maintenance processes and production rates.
Results of the survey show that, like most municipal budgets, forestry budgets are connected to community size. Together, the nine respondents spend $9.2 million annually to maintain more than 463,000 street trees. That averages out to approximately $19 per tree, or $7.60 per resident, for activities that include annual tree planting, maintenance, fertilization and root cutting.
Among the respondents, forestry personnel range from three full-time arborists in Bismarck, N.D., to 130 in Milwaukee. Primarily, the arborists are paid by the hour ($14.04 to $18.24), although one city pays annual salaries ranging from $29,570 for an Arborist I (non-supervisory arborist) to $30,650 for an Arborist II (foreman). Bismarck is the only respondent that supplements its full-time staff with seasonal workers.
Most of the respondents have implemented tree maintenance schedules that allow employees to perform their duties cyclically. For example, the communities typically prune small trees once every two to five years, and they prune larger trees once every five to eight years. One of the respondents provides tree maintenance solely by request.
Three of the respondents use contractors to assist with tree pruning or removal; two are billed by the contractor on a per-tree basis, while the other is billed at an hourly rate.
For more information about the urban forestry survey, contact the Kenosha Park Division at (262) 653-4080.