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Fort Wayne park officials consider new fee to help with ash trees

Wednesday, September 26, 2012 - 4:50 pm

Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation officials may try collecting a special fee from taxpayers to help replace thousands of trees killed by the emerald ash borer.

The Board of Park Commissioners is considering whether to assess an annual fee up to $10 on each property owner – a plan that could generate between $600,000 and $800,000 each year – parks Director Al Moll said. The board could start collecting the fee as early as 2013, but the plan is still in the early discussion phase, Moll said.

“This is just in the concept stage and would be among other options,” Moll said Wednesday in an email. “If it ever was approved, it could take a few years before implemented.”

Moll said a provision in state law appears to allow park boards to assess the fee.

The money would go toward replacing about 12,000 trees that have been killed by the emerald ash borer in Fort Wayne or removed preemptively to keep the pests from spreading.