Primghar Council Hears from Urban Forester
Dana Genereaux, with JEO Consulting Group presented the Primghar Council with the results of an urban forest study conducted on the tree inventory under public control within the Primghar City limits. The activity appears to be a joint effort between JEO and Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Genereaux is an ISA (Internationa Society of Arboriculture) certified arborist and urban forester.
JEO was brought in to give an expert evaluation and management plan to the city to address concerns of trees in public space and affecting the electric lines, the health and safety of the trees and the community and other concerns. JEO boasts having a wide variety of engineering and community specialty experts at their disposal. He also advised that grinding is the best disposal of an EAB infected Ash tree.
Genereaux provided the council with information about the tree data it collected and how the data shaped its proposed management plan proposal. He informed the council of the dollar value of benefits from trees in an assortment of categories and explained the standardized methodology of quantifying the value. Categories of benefit include energy cost reduction, storm water interception, air quality, carbon sequestration and aesthistics. Each category was given a dollar value for a cumulative value of $105,462.
A breakdown of the genera of trees in the public inventory was given. He noted that 27% of Primghar’s 541 trees need some kind of management and 15 trees are recommended for removal. Discussion about diversifying the tree genera was had. Genereaux noted that more 59% of Primghar’s trees on public ground are Maple trees. While the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) is currently devastating Ash trees throughout Iowa, a similar affliction to Maple trees could be devastating for Primghar due to its high Maple tree population. He recommended that 2 trees of different varieties be planted for each tree removed.
In addition to recommending the removal of 15 Ash trees, Genereaux also recommended 28 additional Ash trees be closely monitored, implementing a 3-year pruning rotation of all public trees, and increasing the plant variety of trees. In his recommendations he included a 3-year cost schedule at $3000 per year for 6 years. Council expressed appreciation for the report but took no action.
Darwin Gaudian and Kevin Mars attended on behalf of the O’Brien County Fair. They were there to request the city act as their fiscal sponsor for an O’Brien County Foundation Grant. The project that funding is being sought is for upgrades to the show ring building. The upgrades include an overhang on the west to provide more shade and reduce heat, upgrade the oversize doors and improved lighting, especially over the show ring center. A discussion about the irregular electric bill and use during winter months followed. Council was in agreement with the need to upgrade all electric hookups on all camping sites from 30 amp to 50 amp.
The proposed 2024 FY budget hearing was held with no public comments submitted. City Clerk Carol Chicoine explained to the board that the proposed budget was published before the state provided its revised valuations it would allow to be used due to an error in the last fiscal year. She said the valuations are expected to drop property tax receipts to the city by $6800. Council approved the resolution to approve the proposed budget. Council also approved a budget amendment to the current year’s budget. That public hearing also got no comments.
Several tax abatement applications under the current urban renewal program were accepted and will qualify for the full 10 year abatement of city property taxes on the improved portion of the property. An amendment to the current plan will be presented to council on April 12.. Applications for the current plan will not be accepted after April 12. Applicants have 1 year from the date of approval to complete their improvements to qualify for current tax benefits.
Approval was granted on the agreement with NIPCO for installation of the switchgear. Northwest Iowa Planning and Development was approved to administer the CDBG grant for the sewer project. They are responsible to assure that the work is meeting requirements for the grant.
Chicoine also mentioned to the council that teh engineering firm, DGR, will begin the assessment process for street improvements currently under evaluation.