Tree trimmers could be cut

FRESNO, Calif. The city of Fresno is changing its proposal to completely cut tree trimming out of the city budget.

Fresno is facing a $30.6 million budget shortfall. Mayor Ashley Swearengin wants to save money by reducing some city services.

In northeast Fresno city contracted crews are hard at work cutting down excess branches. It's all in an effort to beautify residential streets but it also serves as a safety measure.

These services could be cut down as well because the city is facing a $30.6 million deficit.

At a budget workshop at city hall Mayor Ashley Swearengin amended an initial plan that would have cut the tree trimming services all together.

Instead city workers will only respond when a falling tree or branch threatens a home or business.

"We're going to budget for the reactive. We would rather be proactive as well but with the budget shortfall we've basically said that we have to suspend that trimming for the next year," Fresno City Manager Mark Scott said.

But not everyone is sold on the idea. City contractors and state agencies voiced their displeasure with the initial proposal on Wednesday.

Friday they admitted the new proposal is better but more still needs to be done. Cal Fire's Darla Mills says the city could end up paying more in reactive services if they cut its proactive ones.

"If I were to drive my car around with a check light oil light on and then I threw a rod, that's much more expensive then replace my engine then it would be to the maintenance on it," Mills said.

Reuben Tirado lives in northeast Fresno. He understands the city's predicament and says he trims his own trees anyway.

"I never thought about calling them and try to make it look presentable. Cleaned up like kinda looks ratty sometimes," Tirado said.

But city and state officials say be careful. There are strict guidelines and codes when it comes to trimming trees. So they advise people to either hire a professional or get proper training.

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