Memo for fiscal year 2022, updated 2021-03-23

[Archived] Question # 43: How much would it cost to purchase and plant 10,000 trees?


How much would it cost to purchase and plant 10,000 trees? (Councilwoman Jackson) 


Direct Costs:  A straight contracted price for 10,000 trees would cost $5,500,000, or $550,000 per year over ten years. All work is done by contract and the current rate is now $550 per tree. The City includes watering in the contract to increase survivability during the establishment period, protecting the City's investment. Current CIP expenditures shown over the ten years, about $213,000 each year, is at the previous rate that was in effect at the time budget requests were submitted. With the new higher contract rate of $550 per tree, with funds shown in the CIP, RPCA contractors we will now plant approximately 400 trees each year versus the 500-600 originally projected. Council would need to determine whether it wanted the 10,000 trees to be an addition to the current planting program or inclusive of the current CIP projected volume. The following response assumes the 10,000 trees are inclusive of the current CIP projected planting volume.  

Time frame: The City would project that the 10,000 trees be installed over a 10-year time frame that would match the CIP program. This would provide for approximately 1,000 trees to be planted annually, which would be 400-500 more trees than are currently being planted per year. This would cost an additional $337,000 per year over the current CIP amount. 

Capacity: It is projected that the City’s contract would have capacity and inventory to match the level of demand of 1,000 trees per year for 10 years. Staffing capacity could be increased to match this level through an Opt-Out Planting program. The current Opt-In program requires multiple interactions from the Arborist staff with the property owner where a tree can be planted in the Right of Way or Planting Strip, in response to what the public would like to see in front of their lot. This has been the standing program for many years. By switching to an Opt-Out Planting Program, the Arborist staff would indicate to the property owner what will be planted in an appropriate location, and the property owner has a limited amount of time to Opt-Out of the planting. This would reduce the number of interactions of the Arborist staff, providing more time dedicated to planting plans. 

Other Considerations: This program would increase the current inventory of 30,000+ trees planted throughout the City by a third. This new inventory would have to be added to the current maintenance program, which would increase the operating costs (contractor and staffing) to care for this increased inventory. These increase operating costs would require supplemental funding to appropriately manage this inventory level. 

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