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Ormond Beach Observer Monday, Dec. 21, 2020 10 months ago

Letter: City's Quality of Life board doesn't truly function as a tree board

Member of grassroots group maintains the city doesn't have a tree board to fulfill Arbor Day Foundation's tree city designation.
by: Guest Writer

Dear editor:

The Observer's Dec. 10 edition featured a "My View" article by Rob Bridger, 2020 candidate for mayor of Ormond Beach. I applaud the content of his article. It is especially important, however, to provide clarifying information regarding the claim referenced in the "editor's note" that the city's Quality of Life Board serves to satisfy the Arbor Day Foundation's requirement for having a Tree Board.

I was a member of the citizens grassroots Tree Committee. At the time we made our request to the City Commission for the establishment of a dedicated Tree Board, we had researched the Quality of Life Board, after being told by the city manager that it functioned as our city's Tree Board. It was not and is not. Our committee members reviewed all minutes from 2014 to the time of our presentation and the word "tree" appeared only three times in five years of monthly meetings.

As of this writing, I reviewed the minutes posted since the time of our presentation of this issue to the commission. There have since been only two meetings with minutes available (Dec. 5, 2019 and Feb. 13, 2020.) The subject of trees has come up briefly (i.e., the Adopt-a-Tree program) on Dec. 5 and during the Feb. 13 meeting regarding the wonderful Vadner Park Project by the Garden Club of the Halifax Country. Apparently, the Quality of Life Board is now at least beginning to discuss trees! I could not find any involvement of the board in the selection of the Medjool palms, the non-native palms selected for the medians throughout Ormond Beach, nor any other tree issues such as the current practice of "clear-cutting," so they are not truly a functioning Tree Board giving input into city tree plants, selection, and maintenance on city properties and tree-related issues.

Our citizens grassroots group maintains, as referenced in Rob Bridger's article, that the city does not have a functional, dedicated Tree Board as required by the Arbor Day Foundation for its "Tree City" designation.

Pam Novy

Ormond Beach

Letters up to 400 words can be submitted for publication by emailing [email protected]. Editor may edit for clarity and length. 

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