The City Council this week added $2 million to the Parks Department budget for tree pruning – on top of the $1.45 million already proposed in Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s budget, says the New York Times.
According to the article, the extra money was part of $30 million in last-minute restorations to the parks department’s budget, which would also save four public pools from closure and pay for seasonal park staff members.
“Tree pruning is something where you don’t see the impact of deferring until there’s a tragedy,” Councilman Brad Lander, D-Park Slope said, according to the paper. “As incidents have shown, there’s a real risk, and, hopefully, getting pruning back on a better schedule will mean New Yorkers will be safer.”
The pruning rotation had been stretched to every 15 years, up from every 7 years in 2008, while during the time, the budget for street-tree pruning contracts dropped from $4.7 million to $1.4 million, says the Times.
The most serious accident involving fallen tree branches in years was when Hinda Segal was killed by a falling branch on Avenue J in Brooklyn in 2003, says the article, adding that the city was ordered to pay $1.6 million for not properly removing the rotten tree.