Commissioners approved town reimbursement for removing Australian pine from private property.
Longboat Key taxpayers could fund up to $60,000 for removing more than 40 trees on private property in 2018.
The town has authority to reimburse residents up to $1,500 for removing Australian pines that could threaten infrastructure if they were to fall along Gulf of Mexico Drive. Any other residents could receive up to $750 if they ask the town for a grant to get utility-threatening timber off their property.
Residents may receive the funding only if trees could block roads, topple power lines or uproot underground infrastructure if they fall.
Town commissioners approved the measure Dec. 4, allowing the town manager to approve reimbursements for residents who choose to remove up to three Australian pines.
The town manager may also approve more funding for removing an Australian pine if “the additional expenditure would mitigate a particularly dangerous condition,” according to the resolution.
The Public Works Director Isaac Brownman in October brought this resolution before Town Commissioners in the wake of Hurricane Irma when some of these shallow-rooted invasive species fell on power lines and in roadways.
Longboat offered a similar reimbursement program from 2005 to 2009, when it offered $1,000 for removing trees that could threaten infrastructure on GMD and, like this year’s grants, half that for other island residents. The town funded private removal of 102 Australian pines in that time.