The Brighton City Council has decided to hire an arborist, a person defined as a professional in the cultivation, management, and study of trees and shrubs.

At its meeting Thursday night, council voted to retain the services of Family Tree Doctor on an on-call basis. In deciding to hire an arborist, there was no mention of plans to update the Mill Pond area with a new band shell and improved amphitheater area.

Many citizens objected to the plans, which will result in removing what were originally five out of six shade trees — and in the revised plan four out of the six trees — to make more room for the band shell area. During the debate it was brought to the city’s attention that Brighton - which is a Tree City USA - has been out of compliance for several years with the rules, which stipulate that the community have an arborist.

The arborist will be used to determine the health of, and to maintain, trees on city property and in the city right-of-way, and to determine the best course of action for trees that are dead or dying. The arborist will also make recommendations for the plantings of trees in certain areas to ensure that the city keeps its status as a Tree City USA

There were two bids received — from Arbor Master Tree Service and Family Tree Doctor. Although Arbor’s bid was slightly lower, it was pointed out that the arborist had just recently become certified. Conversely, the owner and arborist of Family Tree Doctor has been an arborist in the International Society of Arboriculture for over 20 years and has a Bachelor of Science degree in forestry.

Council unanimously voted to approve hiring Family Tree Doctor at a rate of $100 per hour. The contract will be for three years, with an annual renewal. (TT)