Whitefish Bay trustees approved $278,338 in contracts to manage a potential emerald ash borer infestation Monday night.
The village started its emerald ash borer management plan last year, and has to fight the tree disease. Last year the village spent $107,311 to take down 368 trees and plant 344 new trees.
The village bonded $500,000 for the program last year, so the village needs to use the remaining $377,500 in bond funding by the end of 2013.
The three contracts approved by the board Monday night include:
- $137,370 to T&T Tree Service to remove 202 ash trees ranging in size from 20 inches in diameter to 32 inches in diameter
- $93,539.40 to Johnson's Nursery to plant 202 non-ash tree species in place of ash trees that have been eliminated.
- $47,429.80 to M&M Tree Service to treat 1,700 existing ash trees.
The first two contracts received unanimous approval, but Trustee Kevin Buckley said he was hesitant to start treating the trees before the village knows the bug is actually here.
"I think we can pass on it this year," he said. "Forty-seven thousand dollars is not a sneeze."
Trustee Richard Foster had a different concern about the treatment plan. He suggested the board consult the village's Environmental Advisory Commission about the risk of the chemicals being injected into the tree's root system. That motion did not gain traction with the rest of the board.
The emerald ash borer has noticeably infected trees in Oak Creek, which is about 19 miles away, and the West Bend area, about 27 miles away. Oak Creek and Franklin have removed hundreds of trees so far.