Guy Meilleur, an ISA Board Certified Master Arborist, says his firm can save the historic trees at the Jackson County Courthouse for less than $5,000.
The amount is stunningly small in light of the estimate of more than $37,000 previously announced by the Board of County Commissioners.
Meilleur’s firm, Historic Tree Care, specializes in saving and caring for historic trees throughout the South. He has worked on the famed oak tree “The President” at the Florida School for the Deaf & Blind in St. Augustine and the “Fairchild Oak” at Bulow Creek State Park in Ormond Beach, as well as historic trees in Andersonville, Georgia, and numerous other locations.
How did Jackson County wind up with a proposal that quoted a price more than 700% higher than the estimate from a recognized authority on historic trees?
Meilleur indicates that the initial proposal given to the county by a Tallahassee firm includes a number of elements that he does not consider necessary. “I saw nothing that indicated a need for tree removal or soil treatments or cables or lightning systems,” he wrote.
He indicated that pruning would reduce overextended limbs on all of the trees to help assure public safety and the future health of the trees themselves.
At their last meeting, the county commissioners voted to receive estimates for removing the trees. They indicate that they did so only to find out how much it would cost. The commission is scheduled to meet again tomorrow evening (Tuesday, 5/24) at 6 p.m., but the tree issue is not on their published agenda. This does not mean that they will not discuss the matter, only that no prior notice has been given to the public of plans to discuss it.
Meilleur has delivered his proposal to interim county administrator Pam Pichard.
His firm’s website is www.historictreecare.com.