We Oppose Evanston Elm Injection Budget Cuts
Nearly six years ago, at the urging of Evanston residents, Council members adopted a program to inject all of Evanston’s majestic elm trees. The ordinance was later modified to inject only some of the trees. The injection program has been a huge success, protecting 99.38% of the injected trees and saving Evanston taxpayers millions of dollars in tree removal costs. However, because Evanston is injecting only some of our elm trees, we continue to unnecessarily lose trees to Dutch Elm Disease. From 2006 - 2010 the City of Evanston has lost 491 un-injected public elm trees at a cost of $3,050 per tree, for a total cost of $1,497,550. Those 491 elms could have been injected for a cost of approximately $98,200 every three years, or a total cost from 2006 – 2010 of $196,400. That would have been a cost savings of $1,201,150. We would also have preserved 481 trees. With such an amazing success rate and such significant budget savings, it is beyond our comprehension that anyone would propose eliminating the injection of 679 “significant” elm trees in next year’s budget. Not only are these trees on some of the most visible streets in our community (Ridge, Sheridan, Central, Main, McCormick, etc.), but not injecting them will put them at risk for Dutch Elm Disease and actually increase budget costs rather dramatically. The cost to remove those trees will ultimately come to more than $2 million. In fact, the best way to reduce Evanston’s overall expenditures on elm trees is by extending the injection program to all public elm trees. Today, we understand that the City of Evanston injects about 2,200 of 2,800 public elm trees. The cost to inject the remaining 600 would be approximately $120,000 every three years. The cost to remove those 600 elm trees if they are not injected will be $1,830,000. On behalf of the hundreds of members of TREE, we urge the Evanston City Council to dismiss any suggestion of cutting or eliminating the elm tree injection program and instead adopt a program to inject every public elm tree in Evanston. By doing so, you will significantly reduce the need to remove diseased trees. The result will be immediate tax savings and the preservation of Evanston’s beloved elm trees. This approach will also help preserve the character of our community, maintain property values, keep cooling and watering costs down and generally benefit the environment.