Although members of the Franklinville Village Board agreed with a disgruntled property owner that the village's tree removal code needs an overhaul, they denied his request to hire a less-expensive contractor so he could save money.
The village's Tree Commission determines when trees pose a danger and must be removed, and the code requires the cost to be shared by the property owner and the village.
Len Caros, who received notice in October that a tree would be removed from the lawn in front of his property at 37 S. Main St., told board members Monday night that Tree Commission Chairman Jim Pfeiffer indicated that Fries Tree Service, the village's contractor, could be expected to charge the village about $800 for removal and that Caros would be billed for half that price.
Pfeiffer, according to Caros, told Caros he could remove the tree himself but must obtain a permit to do so.
Caros said he asked the Tree Commission for a permit and sought quotes from other contractors. He then contacted Pfeiffer and asked permission to hire Wagoner Tree Service, which offered to do the job for $450.
But the request was refused in a letter from Anthony DiFilippo, the village attorney. The letter stated the village intended to use its contractor to remove the tree and bill him half the cost.
"My question to the board is, why are you against saving the taxpayers money?" Caros said.
Mayor Judy L. Harrington told Caros the village is happy with Fries Tree Service and the tree removal does not have to be put up for public bid despite the possibility of saving money. She also noted other contractors would be required to provide liability and insurance documents.
However, Harrington and other trustees said they might be willing to consider changing the law in the future but intend to use Fries for several tree removals over the coming weeks.
"I am not willing to jump through hoops to see if you are right or not," said the mayor, adding that there have been no complaints since the procedure was started in 1971.
Caros said after the meeting that he was considering challenging the process.