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Council approves tree trimming funds

"It seems like every time I come to the city council I come to beg, borrow and steal," said Bill Flower at last night's Sunnyside City Council meeting. "And tonight I've come to beg." Flower explained that he wanted money to trim the trees in the downtown core. He said that last year the trees were trimmed once to start getting them in shape. This year the trees need to be trimmed twice, according to Flower, who also said the trees look "pretty nice" after the first trimming. "In fact they look the way we envisioned them when we first planted those trees 20 years ago," he said. Flower told the council that it costs $800 to trim the trees. With 126 trees, the cost comes out to $6.35 a tree. Flower said that the city could not do the job at the same price. Flower asked the council for $1,600 to pay for both tree trimmings this year. Councilman Francisco Guerrero said he liked the look of the trees. "It gives the storefronts a lot better look than having a jumbled mess of the leaves and branches and everything," he said. "I do appreciate yourself and the crew." Guerrero motioned to approve the funding. Deputy Mayor Don Vlieger stated that he didn't think the tree maintenance is eligible for lodging tax money, so the $1,600 would come out of the city's general fund. Councilman Jason Raines spoke up to caution the council. "I think that when we consider requests that are not in our budget we have to be very careful," he said. However, he said he was in support of the funding. "I think this amount is one we can find the funds for, especially since we didn't have the fireworks show this year, and that was in our budget," he said. Raines also noted that the work has already been performed and it looks good, so he would support the motion. Vlieger said he also supports Flower's efforts to improve the city from the flower baskets, the bandstand and the bronze statues. "You are truly an asset to this community and I thank you for all your work," Vlieger said. The council voted 5-0, with Council members Jim Restucci and Theresa Hancock absent last night, to fund the tree trimming.

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