Ailing Trees Cause Ache in City Budget - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Ailing Trees Cause Ache in City Budget

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KALISPELL -

An outbreak within Elms trees around the Flathead region could cost Kalispell a pretty penny.

Dutch Elm Disease is overtaking Elm trees in the city, and will soon consume the Kalispell Parks and Recreation Department's quarter of a million dollar budget.

For the past five years the majority of the department's funding has gone towards uprooting and removing dead Elm trees. The city wants to increase the property owners' maintenance fee based on land area to help mitigate costs for recovering the trees over the next five years.

For example: an 8500 square yard lot would pay about ten dollars more each year.

"It's a take no prisoners type thing. Every American Elm will eventually succumb to the disease. Right now, like I said, we have 390 trees. We have 150 trees left to remove," said Mike Baker, the director of Kalispell Parks and Recreation.

Monday, Kalispell's city council plans to hear feedback from the public about this increase. The vote to pass the proposal is set for August 19.

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