Rehoboth candidate focuses on trees

July 22, 2016

My name is Richard Perry and I am a candidate for commissioner in Rehoboth Beach. On Monday morning of this week, the board of commissioners held a workshop devoted exclusively to trees. I was pleased that the meeting hall was packed with citizens and other interested persons – no doubt thanks to the efforts of concerned citizens who got the word out about the importance of the meeting.

What was most impressive to me was the consensus that was present in the room – a welcome relief. Many in the audience, including myself, signed up to volunteer to help clean up our parks and rid them of the ever-invasive English Ivy that threatens the health and longevity of our trees. Someone suggested that the volunteers be called the Ivy League. I hope that this spirit of consensus will survive as we all work to find ways to protect, preserve and maintain trees in our city.

It is equally important that we work together harmoniously to find ways to improve and enhance our tree canopy. As I have stated in the past, I believe that our trees are a public/private partnership obligation. We share this responsibility.

First and foremost, I believe the city needs to demonstrate leadership by implementing a systematic program of planting trees on public property – in parks, along streets in our commercial district and in our residential neighborhoods. There are some challenges – such as limited space – but if we focus our attention on important issues like this, we can find solutions. Other municipalities have faced these challenges and have developed programs that work. Chevy Chase Village and Takoma Park, two Maryland municipalities, are standout examples. Chevy Chase Village has some of the most beautiful tree-canopied streets I have witnessed anywhere. That beauty has been achieved and maintained through the systematic planting of trees every year in public spaces. In addition, programs to share the cost with residents who plant designated tree species on residential properties adds to its overall tree canopy.

Currently, there appears to be very little allocated in the city's budget to address a comprehensive tree program. In fact, the 2016-17 budgeted amount for trees, pruning and landscaping is even less than the previous fiscal year.

And, how much of that is earmarked for trees? Financial resources will be needed for a truly effective tree program. The city needs to look not only within its traditional sources of revenue to reallocate to this need but also look for outside resources, such as grants and charitable donations, to build a special tree fund that can be used to support the program.

I hope that you will vote for me, Richard Perry, for commissioner Aug. 13. I am committed to ensuring that the board of commissioners focuses on this important issue to refine our tree ordinance, make it workable for everyone, and ensure that Rehoboth Beach's unique character as a seaside City of Trees will endure.

Richard J. Perry Jr.
resident candidate for Rehoboth Beach Commissioner

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