Small Town Government (part 2 of 2)

The photo to the right is of a tree across the street from The Curmudgeon’s home. The bright orange “X” means it’s been designated for removal.

By whom? So glad you asked.

By the Haddonfield Shade Tree Commission.

Seriously, the town in which The Curmudgeon lives has a shade tree commission.

You can’t make up this stuff.

According to the Shade Tree Commission’s section of the town’s web site – yes, the Shade Tree Commission has its own section of the town’s web site –

The mission of the Haddonfield Shade Tree Commission is to provide safe town trees while replacing, maintaining and preserving existing Borough trees and overall tree canopy. Unless a tree is unsafe, sick or dying it will not be removed. The community is best served and town budget expenses are reduced by maintaining existing mature trees rather than removing and replacing them without just cause. New trees are chosen for their historical longevity, disease resistance, growth characteristics and beauty. Only the members of the Haddonfield Shade Tree Commission and authorized Borough employees may decide whether a Borough-owned tree is healthy or still useful to the…

Yes, The Curmudgeon knows; someone apparently pruned the Shade Tree Commission’s mission statement, which is pretty damn ironic.

Its incompleteness notwithstanding, that’s the answer to the first question in the commission’s FAQ. The other questions in the FAQ are:

  • Which trees are owned by the borough?
  • Who is the single point of contact for borough trees?
  • Who are Haddonfield’s Shade Tree Commissioners and what is their authority?
  • When does the Shade Tree Commission meet?
  • Which trees are removed…why?
  • Which trees are pruned…why?
  • May a resident pay a private contractor to remove or prune a borough tree?
  • When are trees removed or pruned?
  • When are stumps removed?
  • How can I request a new tree to be planted?
  • Where will new trees be planted?
  • What type of trees will be planted?
  • May I plant a tree of my choosing on borough property?
  • May a resident pay a private contractor to remove or prune a borough tree?
  • How are disputes settled?

The Curmudgeon will spare you the answers but offer two observations.

First, he respectfully suggests that no one has ever, ever inquired about the single point of contact for borough trees.

And second, about that single point of contact for borough trees: is that single point of contact for the town’s residents or…for the trees themselves?

Another feature on the Shade Tree Commission’s web site:

New – Borough Tree Policies

  • FAQs on Borough Tree Policies
  • Summary of the New Shade Tree Ordinance (2014-12), passed July 15, 2014
  • Fees, Penalties, and Replacement Assessment Schedule Fees, Penalties and Replacement Assessment Schedule
  • Haddonfield Community Forestry Management Plan (CFMP), 2012-2016
  • Haddonfield Borough Tree Planting Species List

All of them have links to PDFs about the individual subjects.

But there’s more!

New – Shade Trees and Construction

  • FAQs on Shade Trees and Construction
  • Policy for Construction Fencing to Protect Borough-owned Trees
  • How to Identify and Measure a Borough Tree
  • Inventory of Borough Street Trees as of December 2014
  • Sidewalks and Trees
  • Avoiding Tree Damage during Construction
  • Treatment of Trees Damaged by Construction
  • Shade Tree Commission Meeting Tree Protection Form

And all of these have accompanying PDFs, too.

But we’re not done. There’s also

Shade Tree Program

  • Haddonfield Branch Managers, active tree care volunteers and residents
  • Tree Removal Partnership Program
  • Commemorative Tree Donation Program
  • NEW – Supporting Haddonfield’s Trees – NEW – Supporting Haddonfield’s Trees

Because with that last one, it’s apparently so important it’s worth saying twice.

And again, all of these individual items have corresponding PDFs.

But we’re not finished. Next, there’s

Guides to Tree Care

How to Plant a New Tree

  • Mulching Trees and Shrubs
  • Six Ways to Keep Your Newly Planted Tree Alive and Healthy

But we’re still not finished.

Shade Tree News

  • Looking for a family activity? Take the Haddonfield Tree Tour
  • Shade Tree Commission Walking Tour Brochure Shade Tree Commission Walking Tour Brochure
  • Shade Tree Commission Town Tree Tour

Again, with one item worth mentioning twice, and all with links.

And there’s one last section in the commission’s site.

Haddonfield’s 2013 Tricentennial Tree Program Results

  • Haddonfield Adds 100 Tricentennial Trees, News Release
  • Supporters of Haddonfield’s Tricentennial Trees
  • Tricentennial Tree Locations
  • Demonstration Video – Planting Container Trees in Yard Settings
  • Quick Guide on How to Plant a Tree

Haddonfield has what’s known as a commission form of government. Residents elect three commissioners and those commissioners select one among them – usually the one who received the most votes – to be mayor. The borough has the usual array of departments – revenue and finance, public affairs and public safety, and public works and property.

And the Shade Tree Commission is by no means the only such body in town. Other boards and committees are:

  • District Management Corporation
  • Environmental Commission
  • Sustainable Haddonfield – Green Team
  • Haddonfield Municipal Alliance
  • Historic Preservation Commission
  • Human Relations
  • Library Board
  • Partnership for Haddonfield
  • Planning Board
  • Recreation Committee
  • Senior Citizen Advisory Committee
  • Zoning Board

All of this government suggests that Haddonfield must be a pretty big place, right?

Well, not quite. All that government is in place to serve a borough of…

…11,400 people.

And a LOT of trees.

Seriously. That is one helluva lot of government for one little town, don’t you think?

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  • Peaches Shimmerdeep  On November 9, 2017 at 7:36 am

    I am laughing out loud. But go easy on Haddonfield, buddy. It IS affluent Mayberry, and I still love it. You will know how much lower esteemed my town is than Haddonfield when you read the next fact: We recently abolished our Shade Tree Commission. We are free to plant and fell with abandon. I immediately took down a beautiful but unfortunately placed tree in my yard and am widening my driveway. Suburban concrete sprawl.

    I don’t know if you ever watched “Gilmore Girls” (if not, you SHOULD), but if so, check out Taylor, the town something or other. Haddonfield is full of Taylors, and we hate/love them. They are often not rational but they are often helpful. And…you will fit right in. I leave for work pleased!

    • foureyedcurmudgeon  On November 9, 2017 at 7:22 pm

      I am still embarrassed when someone asks me where I live and I have to reply “Haddonfield.” Still, you know it’s very Mayberry when you’re walking the dog at 10:30 on a Saturday night and you hear voices off in the distance and they get closer and it’s a bunch of teenagers – riding bicycles. Haven’t seen “Gilmore GIrls,” although I’ve been tempted, but recently finished watching the one season of Bunheads,” which was created and written by the same people and was good.

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