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Growing greener: Caz becomes official Tree City USA

From the Village of Cazenovia Deputy Mayor

To be selected as a Tree City, we had to submit an application and meet four basic criteria. We were already doing many of these things, but the application was a valuable exercise in formalizing some of our urban forestry principles and practices. We will be required to re-certify each year, which should not be a difficult process now that these practices are in place.

First, we had to have a tree commission. Tom Tait founded the Cazenovia Tree Commission in 2007, and we currently boast approximately 20 active volunteer members. We meet about 10 times annually, with a couple of these meetings devoted to the actual installation and maintenance of trees.

Second, we needed a Tree Care Ordinance. This is traditionally the one that can be the most difficult if a community does not have a past commitment to tree management. The village board drafted this ordinance last year and passed it in May 2011. The ordinance provides formal structure to our tree management practices, as well as protection for all village trees.

Third, Tree Cities need to have a community forestry budget of at least $2 per capita. We were very fortunate to already have adequate funding allocated in our existing “Shade Tree” line in the village budget to meet this criterion for our 3,200 residents.

In addition, in the budget process we just completed for 2011-12, I am pleased to note that the purview of the “Beautification” line has been officially expanded to include trees as an acceptable use. We are also allowed to include work performed at the expense of village partners such as National Grid and Madison County. When these organizations do work on village trees located within their rights of way, those funds saved by the village count toward our tree work budget. In 2011, National Grid contributed $29,000 in kind.

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