WALLA WALLA:  Using fees for urban forestry

WALLA WALLA: Using fees for urban forestry

The Walla Walla City Council will consider amending city code to include green infrastructure and urban forestry as part of the city’s stormwater utility fee when it meets for its regular meeting Wednesday at 7 p.m.

Walla Walla Parks and Recreation Director Andy Coleman said his department is proposing the council approve an ordinance allowing stormwater fees to fund a program which would include moving the city’s arborist into a full-time position, purchasing a bucket truck, and providing funding to hire contractors, when necessary, to perform necessary work on the city’s larger trees.

Coleman said that the city is currently responsible for about 130,000 trees on public property within the city limits. If approved, Coleman said the long-term impact would be there would be more trees in the city.

“We would have dedicated funds to purchase more trees,” he said. “Also better health of our current urban forest, and it will mean some trees will come down as well. We already have our eyes on a few that are safety hazards. It will give us a dedicated funding source to be able to manage the urban forest properly.”