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Re-elect Cindy Carter Grant County Commissioner

A long history of grants and tree plans in Coulee Dam

Letter to the Editor

 


Another grant application for your spending enjoyment has been written by Councilmember Gayle Swagerty and submitted to the Community Forestry Assistance Grant Program, a part of the Washington State Department of Natural Resources. The Project Name for the Town of Coulee Dam is the “Urban Forest Management and Maintenance Plan.”

In my letter of Jan. 25, I stated that the next grant application would cost the citizens of Coulee Dam $10,000. Well, I was wrong. The actual cost to the Town of Coulee Dam will be $11,108.45. The total cost of this grant will be $20,108.45. This cost is broken down as follows: $9,000 from the Washington State Department of Natural Resources, $4,215 in cash and town employee labor wages, $1,400 for the use of town office space, and $4,493.45 in volunteer hours (16.67 hours for each member of the Park and Natural Resources Board and each town council person). Finally, Community Forestry Consultants will be paid $10,000 for writing an Urban Forest Management and Maintenance Plan and conducting meetings with the town staff and the residents of Coulee Dam.

One of the purposes of this grant is to hire community forestry consultants, an urban forestry planning and management consulting firm to write and adopt an “Urban Forest Management and Maintenance Plan” for the Town of Coulee Dam.

On Dec. 15, 2014, Councilmember Swagerty wrote and submitted a grant application for a tree inventory to the Community Forestry Assistance Grant Program, Washington State Department of Natural Resources. In the grant application, Swagerty stated the following: The development of a Tree Maintenance Plan is one of our Park and Natural Resources Board’s highest priorities.

The Tree Inventory Grant was approved and funded, and on Dec. 11, 2015, the town received a tree inventory from Community Forestry Consultants, written the second time, for 680 of the town’s street trees, and a six-page summary of the tree inventory. At that time, Community Forestry Consultants did not write a Comprehensive Community Forestry Management and Maintenance Plan.

In 2004, Community Forestry Consultants performed a tree inventory for 836 of the town’s street trees and submitted a 17-page plan titled “A Comprehensive Community Forestry Management Plan.” Since the town already has a viable Comprehensive Community Forestry Management Plan on record, why is it necessary for the town to have a Community Forestry Management and Maintenance Plan written all over again?

It is now almost 14 months since the town received the 2015 tree inventory and 26 months since Councilmember Swagerty stated that the Park and Natural Resources Board members were developing a tree maintenance plan, as stated above. In all this time, have the present members of the Park and Natural Resources Board ever seen the 2004 or the 2015 Tree Inventory? Have the Park and Natural Resources Board members even heard about writing this high-priority Tree Maintenance Plan?

Another grant application has been submitted without any opportunity for public input. A councilperson/PNRB member has said that the public is invited to all Park and Natural Resources Board meetings. How can one say that a PNRB meeting, with no posted agenda, held at 9 a.m. on every other Wednesday is an “appropriate opportunity for public comment?” How many people can make a 9 o’clock meeting on a Wednesday morning?

Bruce Bartoo

Coulee Dam

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