Tree trimming causes pause, confusion

Milaca – The Mille Lacs County Board voted at a Dec. 13 meeting to reimburse a Milaca resident on Third Street Southeast $1,500 of the $2,000 paid to have trees trimmed that the city had deemed as diseased during a citywide tree survey in the fall. Before the board moved to pay the bill, it considered asking the city of Milaca to share the expense.
A city inspector had tagged three trees, box elder and ash. The resident received a letter from the city stating that the dead or diseased trees should be removed. When a county staff member was in the resident’s neighborhood talking to someone else about trees, it came to light that the removed trees on Third Street were on county, not private, property.
Board Chairman Roger Tellinghuisen asked if the county should approach the city about sharing the expense, since it had basically sent the tree-removal letter to the wrong property owner. Commissioner David Oslin said if the city would have sent a letter to the county, it could have taken care of the trees for less money and saved the homeowner headache.
Tellinghuisen agreed, “Our guys could have cut it for nothing.”
Commissioner Phil Peterson said part of the problem was that nobody knew for sure where the property line was, including the county, and that wasn’t checked during the inspection, tagging and removal processes. Peterson made a motion for the county to pay the bill.
County Administrator Pat Oman said the city has sent the county letters about trees before and in this particular case, all the trees had existed in a right of way along a fence where the property line was not well defined.