Will Winter Park pay to trim its own trees? - FOX 35 News Orlando

Will Winter Park pay to trim its own trees?

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WINTER PARK, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35 ORLANDO) -

Winter Park is known for its huge oak trees, providing the city with lots of canopy and shade, but the rules for trimming those trees could be changed.

Right now, property owners are responsible for the cost of trimming trees outside of their yards, even when the tree is in the public right of way, and not on the homeowner's land.  Any time you bring up the subject of trees in Winter Park, Assistant City Manager Michelle Del Valle says residents get interested fast.

"People love their trees. many people talk about how they moved to this community because it's a beautifully shaded community and we have a canopy."

The program of having residents pay for trimming trees that are not on their property has not been ideal, so the city is looking at changes.  We talked to Kristin in her driveway.  She actually paid for a tree that was not in her yard.

"It's expensive to get the trees trimmed, but we're fortunate that we can do it, but I know not everyone is in that situation so it might be safer for the city as a whole if the city would take over."

The city is thinking about taking over that responsibility, but Del Valle says the big question as always is how to pay for city wide tree trimming?

"It's certainly going to cost additional money, and so we're at this point, you know, looking at multiple options. We never want to throw out a tax increase as the only option, that's not our first consideration, but we are looking at various ways to fund the project."

The city could raise property taxes, add a surcharge to its electric bills, or simply find the money from somewhere else in the city's budget.

Before any of the options go before the city commission, Winter Park will hold a community workshop on what they call the Urban Forest Management Plan.  That meeting is set for September 30.

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