My Turn: Taxpayer dollars and trees - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

My Turn: Taxpayer dollars and trees

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Several trees met an untimely end as the Department of Transportation removed the palms that cost taxpayers thousands of dollars only eight years ago. (Source: Richard Buggeln) Several trees met an untimely end as the Department of Transportation removed the palms that cost taxpayers thousands of dollars only eight years ago. (Source: Richard Buggeln)

When you think of the beach, palm trees usually come to mind. And for nearly the last decade, a line of palm trees greeted you on your way to Wrightsville Beach. But this week, that image was chopped down.

Several trees met an untimely end as the Department of Transportation removed the palms that cost taxpayers thousands of dollars only eight years ago. They say they were diseased. I'm not an arborist, so I'll have to take their word.

Now they're planning to plant oak trees and the city is also considering building a multi-use path for that area. So there are other possible reasons for this removal.

It seems to me that situations like this happen more often than they should. What bugs me is that each time our leaders make these moves, it costs money…taxpayer money. And I'm of the opinion that if they spent that money as if it is coming from their own pockets, they just might make more thoughtful decisions.

That's my turn. Now it's your turn. To comment on this segment, or anything else, email me at yourturn@wect.com.

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Emailed comments from viewers:

Nice piece.  Thanks.  Here are my suggestions: 

1.  Palms rarely become diseased on their own.  Those trees became diseased for a reason.  Insure that whoever is maintaining them has a genuine understanding of the proper care and maintenance of palms.  Otherwise, the remaining trees will soon meet the same fate. 

2.  Replace the trees with exactly the same species of palm.  No live oaks!  We can see live oaks in Oklahoma. 

3.  No paths.  If you think replacing palms is expensive, wait until you hear about the cost of multi-use paths.

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Gary, I think a lot of the issues have to do with funding. Many of these projects are planned and then put on hold because of lack of funding and resources. In the meantime, something has to be done to fix whatever the problem is (short term bandage) until funding can become available and the original projects can go as planned. That's why it appears that several projects are taking place at the same location over several years. It's not bad planning, just making the best out of whatever the situation is until the original project can be fully funded.

I'm not exactly sure what you wanted the DOT to do differently. Obviously you appreciate the effort they went to try and put in palm trees a few years back but it didn't work out. I'm also going to assume the trees were diseased since I'm not a tree expert so now live oaks are going to be planted there instead which have a better chance of survival.

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I drove to the beach with my Grandkids yesterday and boy were they surprised to see all the trees cut down.

It's not just the money, but the view we leave for the next generation.

Whoever is responsible for the removal of those beautiful trees should be fired,billed and the money sent to my grandkids.

I think they may have more sense how to spend it then those in charge now.

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