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Arborist Advisoty Council Meeting Minutes, November 8, 2011
Tim Basham, Chuck Cotton, Brian Dugas, Mark Lamberton
Members Not Present
John Lamanna, Tom Hoerth, Kathy Hopkins
Debbie Davis, Ann Gibbs
Ann welcomed and called the meeting to order at 9:00 am
Update from Members
Mark Lamberton - Indicated that Bangor Hydro had merged with Maine Public Service therefore the service area will be expanded. The vegetation management programs are still being run separately, but will be integrated in the future. Flagging for tree trimming jobs is required often and is a major expense.
Chuck Cotton - Lucas is helping with storm clean up in southern New England. There is a lot more competition for tree work in southern Maine. In the past 2 to 3 companies would bid on a job, but now there are usually 6 bidders. Lots of new tree companies, not sure they are all licensed.
Tim Basham - Tim asked how other folks determined when to use a crane for tree work. OSHA rules indicate that a climber cannot be placed into a tree using a crane unless you can prove it is the safest method. Many arborists thought that ANSI standards covered this issue, but they don't. Companies are being careful when they use a crane and documenting why it was the best method for doing the tree work at the time. Lucas has paperwork that crews must complete when using a crane.
Brian Dugas - Budget for the city of Bangor is tight resulting in no seasonal help this year (usual have 4 extra staff). Noticing lots of disease outbreaks on trees, tarspot on Norway maples, black knot on plum, and this is starting to take a toll on the trees with lots of dead branches etc. Brian has been growing oak trees in root control bags and this has been very succesful. The trees are grown for 2 years in the nursery and planted bare root. The city plants about 100 trees each year.
Arborist Program Update
Debbie prepared a summary of activities and data related to licensing. This year 106 people were scheduled to take the exam and 86 sat for the exam with an 88% pass rate for those who took the exam. About 53% of the arborists licensees have had their license less than 10 years. The number of licensed arborists for 2011 is 845 up from 596 in 2005. There was some question regarding the possibility of renewing licenses every 2 years instead of annually. Someone asked how many questions regarding working around electrical wires was included on the exam? The group discussed that arborists needed to do EHAP training, but should also have ongoing training on this subject.
ACTION: Ann will look into the possibility of renewing arborist licenses every 2 years.
Ann reviewed several arborist complaints the Department has dealt with this year just to give the members a flavor or the issues the program deals with. One instance involved a licensed arborist who ws cutting limbs off a tree overhanging his client's property from a tree owned by the neighbor. The arborist needs to get permission from the owner of the trunk of the tree before removing overhanging limbs/ Chuck Cotton indicated that Lucas will not do any tree work involving a neighbor boundary trees unless the neighbors have agreed in writing. Another instance involved a neighbor dispute regarding removing trees on lake shore front property. The Department did an investigation and found that the licensed arborist doing the work had followed all the proper protocols except that he was licensed as a utility arborist and not a landscape arborist. He has since taken teh test and becomed licensed in this category. There have also been several complaints regarding unlicensed arborists doing tree work and they are notified that they need to become licensed. Brian talked about a Bangor city ordinance that requires the city to deal with hazard trees on private property. He mentioned this was taking a lot of time and wondered if others had dealt with similar situations.
Ann mentioned that the Department had been to several events promoting the arborist licensing program. They recently had a booth at the New England International Society of Arboriculture meeting in Bath. They also annually give a presentation at the Maine Arborist Association meeting and have information on the arborist program at the Agricultural Trades Show.
Ann reviewed language from a resolve passed by the legislature this past session to stagger teh terms of council members. The reasoning behind this resolve was to ensure there was some continuity on the council when terms expired. The resolve added, on a one-time basis, one year to the 2 members representing an electrical transmission company and a municipality and two years to 2 members representing a statewide organization and the public. ann passed out a sheet outlining each member's terms to help minimize any confusion
Issues of Interest to Council Members
Tim brought up the issue of hazard tree definitions used by code enforcement officers. Currently the definition describes trees that are "dead, diseased or dying". He would like to add a term dealing with structural integrity as determined by a licensed arborist. Members voiced some concern that this term was too subjective and might be misused. A suggestion was that there should be a hazard tree evaluation performed on each tree and this could include the structural integrity factor.
ACTION: Ann will determine where these definitions are used and who to contact and teh process for proposing changes
Tim also brought up the issue of the MDOT contract for arborist work. MDOT develops a contract for arborist work that might be needed each year across the state. The contract states that the work must be done by a licensed arborist. There is a loophole in the contract that doesn't require them to give work to the licensed arborists are awarded a contract, but MDOT can get work done under "private equipment rental agreements" if they choose. The group wasconcerned that these agreements didn't go through the same bid process and might not require licensed arborists
ACTION: Ann will contact folks at MDOT who work with the arborists and based on that discussion might draft a letter suggesting private rental agreements require a licensed arborist.
No meeting date was set.
Meeting adjourned at 10:50 am
Respectfully submitted by,
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