The city of Perrysburg administration is looking to cut its street tree assessment tax in half to $50,000 for next year.
The annual tax last year cost the homeowner of a $100,000 house about $6. The administration is proposing a tax that would cost the same homeowner around $2.50 a year. The first reading for the tax took place at Tuesday‘s city council meeting. Council is expected to vote on the matter Aug. 5.
The assessment pays for planting, maintaining, trimming, and removing shade trees in and along the streets and within the public right of ways.
City council was expected to vote on the tree assessment Tuesday until resident Jim Hagen asked the city to use more money to help the trees. Mr. Hagen and asked council to postpone the vote to give residents time to express their concerns.
“[Years ago] we raised it to deal with a crisis and then would get rid of it, now we are reducing it back,” Mayor Mike Olmstead said. “If we find a problem [with low funding] we can add some from the general fund. It will not impact the trees at all in a negative way. People have worked too hard to let it go to waste.”
Mr. Hagen said he is concerned the city will be tempted to skimp on tree care. Perrysburg maintains 11,570 trees, which are valued at $3 million, he said.
Also Tuesday council discussed minimum firefighter staffing. Perrysburg has considered making permanent a temporary practice that reduces the minimum staff on any shift from five to four firefighters. Councilman Rick Rettig read a statement regarding the issue aloud.
“I have requested the specific statistics the administration is using to arrive at this conclusion, but I have not received these statistics,” he said.
He went on to say that the he believes the department is significantly less effective with a reduced minimum stafffing level. Since the city is researching the idea of adding a second fire station, reducing minimum staffing seems contradictory, he said.
Mayor Olmstead said the city will continue with a four-man minimum until evidence shows this is not the safest practice.
Contact Matt Thompson at: firstname.lastname@example.org, 419-356-8786, or on Twitter at @mthompson25.