Channel 5 announced today that the City of West Palm Beach began their trimming "amnesty" program - first day of April. The city is encouraging people to do their heavy tree trimming prior to hurricane season (June 1.) They are waiving special pick up fees in order to encourage the practice. This is a commendable act on the part of a local government!
About this time last year, I had some major trimming done at my house. A crew came through and took care of what needed to be trimmed for about $600. The resulting debris/trimmings were piled up alongside Pennsylvania - the entire length of my property. This was done on a Monday - so I called for a special pick-up and the city came the next day. All the cuttings were removed. Nothing was discussed regarding a charge for the service or the amount. I did expect some sort of charge and knew that it would appear on a future utility bill.
Lo and behold, when that bill came, guess what the figure was for that "special pick-up?"
$850.00 Which, if you don't pay, they will shut off your electricity and water. I ended up talking with Joe Kroll and he ended up adjusting the figure, but it didn't seem to be based on anything other than the initial fee was too high. Again - no notice, no conversation about what the fee would be, etc.
That was more than what it cost to have the crew do the trimming! We should be encouraging private property owners to prepare for hurricane season and this is punishing them if they do. This could prevent greater injury and damage citywide if there is a major storm event later in the year. Especially in these economic times, Lake Worth needs to follow West Palm's lead and do the same for the benefit and safety of its residents.
Note: Commissioner Mulvehill responded this afternoon to the e-mail I sent to the Commission and said that she has asked that this item be put on a future agenda.