By Jason Musselman
The Toulon City Council voted Monday night to purchase 200 trees to replace some of the dozens lost to storms and age.
“I’m hoping to start planting more trees, we’ve cut down a lot,” said Mayor Larry Hollis who had asked Al Curry of Toulon to research prices and species.
Curry’s brief presentation focused on trees that used to form a timber east of the Indian Creek in what he called a “prairie island”.
“By using native trees we can enhance the wildlife,” said Curry, “Oaks are by far the most beneficial for them.”
And by splitting the order to 100 red oaks and 100 white oaks, the council hopes to avoid any future unknown issues, like the ash bore that’s killing ash trees.
The trees will be purchased as a bulk rate from the Peoria County Soil & Water Conservation District of $189 per 100. Trees will be 16-28” tall and will be available to the public for just a few dollars.
Curry says the smaller trees are better because they establish a root base quicker and start growing sooner than large trees with root balls. Those must establish the tap roots before any new growth occurs, which takes about a year per inch in diameter of the tree. Plus, the few dollars for a small tree is not a large investment if it doesn’t make it.
In a related matter, public works superintendent Mike Richardson told the council they recently had to cut a tree that posed a risk of falling and that the city has many more that need attention. The city could hire it out or rent the equipment for about $700 a week to do it themselves.
Curry explained the problem with the trees is poor pruning when they are young. He says 2/3 of the tree should be foliage and 1/3 trunk with one leader growing upwards. Other branches should be trimmed at this time of the year and when they are small so they heal quicker. More than one leader causes unbalanced distribution of leaves and tends to lead to trees splitting, causing damage to houses.
Information about how to prune and where to plant the trees will be distributed with those available for purchase.
In other business the mayor reported he is pleased with the progress the Toulon Police Department has made.
“I’ve thought we’ve made quite a bit of headway,” said Hollis. “He’s done a really good job coordinating everything,” he added of Police Chief Gary Bent.
The council noted the bid on electricity was approved for residential accounts through Good Energy, $0.058 per kilowatt for three years. The process of opting out and notifications from Good Energy will begin soon.
Hollis had several other items on the agenda on which no action was taken. One included looking at the costs of hiring out the mowing of the cemetery as opposed to mowing it themselves. Initial cost figures appeared to be at least $25,000, which is why the city has done the mowing themselves recently, said Hollis.
Another item was the possible replacement of a 1994 red pickup truck that’s nearing the end of its usefulness. The item was tabled until next month, as was the purchase of new water meters.
Finally, the council approved a $500 donation to the Stark County After Prom committee.
By Jason Musselman