1967: City removes trees in fight against elm disease
The following appeared in the Rock County Star Herald on July 13, 1967.
Ordinance Gives City Authority To Remove Trees
Under authority given by an ordinance adopted by the city council Tuesday night, city workmen yesterday began removing the elm tree at 516 N. Cedar, diagnosed as having Dutch elm disease.
The ordinance, passed under emergency powers provided by the city charter, authorizes the city council to declare trees known to be infected with the disease to be a public nuisance.
The office of City Forester was created and the hat of the office was delegated to City Administrative Assistant Richard J. Stevens.
Henceforth, if any more trees are determined to have the disease, a notice will be served the owner. The owner then has five days in which to abate the public nuisance. If the owner does not act within five days, the city may move in and take the tree down if it is shown that danger is imminent to other trees. Loss of the elms would depreciate property values in the city.
All nearby high value elms may be sprayed if it is determined necessary.
It was after long deliberation that the council passed the ordinance.
The ordinance prohibits the transporting of the diseased elmwood except under controlled conditions. All elmwood must be burned unless it is de-barked.
Penalty for delaying or prohibiting removal of diseased tress on property also is established in the ordinance. The offense is considered a misdemeanor with a maximum $100 fine or 90 days confinement.
The new ordinance will necessitate the city to start a control program. To start, after removing the diseased tree, a trimming and later a spraying program will be put into effect. The city expects to remove diseased trees, if any more are discovered, from boule-vards and public property. Trees on private property are to be removed at the owner’s expense within five days. If they remain after five days the city must move in and remove the tree, the cost being assessed the property owner on the tax rolls.
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