Neighbors, town to split tree-cutting cost

By 
MITCH MAERSCH
Ozaukee Press Staff

Ralph Weber and friends took Belgium Town Chairman Tom Winker’s often-used “be neighborly” phrase to a new level last week.

Weber told the Town Board on Nov. 9 that he and his neighbors on Sandy Beach Road South agreed to help pay to cut down dead ash trees on a town easement along the road.

“We’ve kind of taken the lead of the chairman, who always talks about being a good neighbor. So on Sandy Beach South we’re trying to be a good neighbor to the town,” Weber said.

A couple of weeks ago two trees came down, Weber said, and last year big trees fell onto the road several times.

When We Energies had its lines there, power would be knocked out and a crew would be sent to cut up the trees and reopen the road.

“They buried their power lines so it’s not their problem anymore,” Weber said. “Spectrum, likewise, put their cables under the ground.”

Craig Beecher, the chairman of the neighborhood road committee who gets called when a tree falls, encouraged the town to take down the trees.

“As owners of those properties, we have spent thousands of dollars cutting our own ash trees. I’m getting some push-back from some neighbors saying, ‘If we’re paying to take care of our property why isn’t the town taking care of their property and cutting the trees?’” he said.

The property with the trees in question was deeded to the town by Nin Wellenstein when it approved a subdivision plot, Supr. Bill Janeshek said. That was more than 20 years ago.

Janeshek said he met with Weber to discuss the issue.

“There are quite a few — I don’t even know if you could count how many there are — a lot of dangerous trees along the road,” Janeshek said.

Supr. Tom Bichler said he checked out the property and agrees the trees should be removed.

“It has to get cleaned up before somebody gets hurt down there,” he said.

Weber presented the town with a proposal from Interstate Tree Land Clearing Co. for $29,700 to clear trees 40 feet from the road.

“I talked with Ralph about money in the budget. We have a lot of other trees that are along the roads that need to get taken down too,” Janeshek said.

Neighbors initially agreed to pay for half of the cost, but some may be low on cash and might not participate, Weber said. He asked the town to pay $22,500 and the neighbors would pick up the rest.

Weber said grinding the stumps would cost as much as $7,000 more, so he wants to leave foot-high stumps to save that money.

Weber said the company has the job tentatively scheduled for early December.

One resident asked about the height of the pile of wood chips on the site, given hundreds of trees may be removed.

Weber said he can’t imagine the company would create a tall pile of wood chips unless it chips the trees all in one place.

“We’re going to be there (during the job) and make it as best as it can. It’s not going to look fabulous. It’s going to take a while for it to grow back, but we’ve got a problem here we’re trying to solve,” he said.

The board agreed to pay $20,000 for the work and approved Interstate Tree Land Clearing Co.’s bid, 3-0. The town will contract to do the work so it saves $1,600 in sales tax.

Weber said he was OK with that agreement. The neighbors will pick up the remaining tab of less than $10,000.

“We’ll get you the money as soon as you need it. Whenever the payable terms are,” he said.

“When you guys go back to your neighborhood, make sure you thank everybody,” Winker said. “This is what I’m trying to instill in the Town of Belgium.”

 

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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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