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Heated Opposition to Tree Ordinance at Hereford Meeting
Written by Candace Perry, Correspondent

            The residents want the ordinance repealed. The supervisors asked for changes from the citizens' group to the measure that they can consider.

            A loud and very vocal crowd attended the Tuesday, June 7, Hereford Board of Supervisors meeting in person and via Zoom to continue its protest of the dead and diseased tree ordinance. This meeting was different from those previous, however. Solicitor Eugene Orlando gave permission to the supervisors to respond to attendees.

            This time, the supervisors and Orlando were peppered with questions. The solicitor said that it was good that the crowd attended and was getting involved, despite accusations leveled at him about "peddling" the tree ordinance to the municipalities he represents.

            He provided a recap of the events leading up to the passing of the ordinance in September of last year, including the legal advertisement in this newspaper, and how no comments were made at that time.

            Residents protested that they were not notified. Supervisor Karla Dexter's comment, "We assume that you read the Town & Country," was met with laughter.

            "We can talk about and debate whether the ordinance can be tweaked or modified," said Orlando, "but the bottom line is it is the responsibility of the three people you elected for the health, safety, and welfare of everybody, not just the 30 or 40 who are here."

            There was extensive discussion about the township footing the bill for the removal of the trees with a bond. Orlando asked if it was fair for the residents who don't have the same tree issues to pay taxes for paying the bond.

            That statement was met with comments about paying school taxes when you don't have children in school, or paying for roads you don't travel on.

            Chairman John Membrino stated that it would cost a lot more if the township removed the trees, given prevailing wage, costs of bidding and insurance.

            "We don't generally get competitive prices," he said, but audience members disagreed with him.

            A resident commented, "You are putting a heavy burden on people who can't afford to do this." 

It was also stated that the GoFundMe drive by the citizens' committee, which has already raised $4,360, would go toward helping people who can't afford to have the work done.

            Another audience member said, "You've been sold a bill of goods" by the solicitor, and that the supervisors should "look to getting another solicitor" and "consider getting another engineering firm," which received a round of applause.

            "These are two of the finest professionals I have ever known," Membrino stated.

            Membrino asked that the citizens' group meet and work on the changes that they want to see and present them to the supervisors.

            Audience members, however, wanted the ordinance to be put on hold for six months, though Membrino continued to insist that nothing was currently happening with enforcement. The arborist's work is on hold and letters have not been sent to property owners whose trees were marked.

            Citizens' group organizer John Yanin invited the supervisors to attend the June 28 meeting at the Hereford Gun Club, but Membrino declined.

            "It wouldn't be proper for us to do that," he said, pointing out that there have been accusations of closed-door meetings already. He encouraged the residents to attend the two meetings a month of the board.






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