Tree cutting soon?

The decision on logging the Pine Lake watershed property will continue to be discussed by the village board next week.

“I think that it will be something that we will talk about at our next meeting,” said Mayor Francis “Fra” Putorti.

The village has talked with three foresters about the possibility of doing a timber harvest on the property that houses the municipalities’ water supply, including Richard Cipperly, who was at the board’s June 1 meeting.

“I did look at the recommendations prepared by Fountain Forestry in 2006,” said Cupperly. “The good news is that they did a good job in preparing their report. The bad news is that the prices have dropped.”

Cipperly said he felt that the proposed 20 percent of land in the watershed property could yield a village profit of about $52,000 if it were harvested now, instead of an estimated $70,000-$80,000 when the plan was first prepared in 2006.

Cipperly added that any timber harvest would not happen until the winter months.

“The watershed area is set up OK for this,” he said. “If you are going to do something, you would want to do it in the winter because then you would not tear up as much and it would be quieter for the neighbors and for those who go along the ground. It is public, state land, so there has to be considerations made for the rattlesnakes up there.”

Cipperly said the first phase of the project, which would cut down trees on roughly 20 percent on the property, located on the southern end, would take a whole winter season plus half of the next.

“It may take and winter and half a winter,” he said. “Under this plan, at the end of five years, you would be at the end of your timber harvest.”

Trustee Walter Sandford asked how visible Cipperly would be on the potential harvest site.

“The question that we have asked all the foresters is how long and how often you are going to be up there during the harvest.

“I’m there at least once each week and I am never there at the same time each week,” said Cipperly. “This property is your water supply and I think that first responsibility is to protect that at all costs.”

Putorti said the village will look at all of its options before making a decision.

“Everything that we have been told is an estimate as to who much we can get,” said Putorti. “We want to make sure that we can get as much revenue as possible out of that.”

Putorti said the main goal of a timber harvest would be to increase revenue to a water budget that is hurting for cash.

“If we do not do something like this, then we are going to have a major shortfall in the water budget,” he said. “The only other option would be to raise the rates of those in the water district around 20 percent, and that last thing that we can afford to do is raise taxes any higher than they already are.”

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