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Emmaus Will Look Into Growing own Christmas Trees

Mike Waddell asks council to consider planting trees somewhere on borough property.

As the borough of Emmaus looks forward to its ceremony in on Saturday night, an Emmaus borough councilman is already looking forward next year’s Christmas tree – and the trees after that.

Mike Waddell, who heads council’s general administration committee, made what he termed an “unusual request” at the Nov. 21 .

The borough, he said, had been looking for its 2011 Christmas tree for a while, and it had taken until a few days before Thanksgiving to find one. Good news that was a little too close for comfort for Waddell.

To make the borough’s annual Christmas tree hunt a little easier down the road, Waddell proposed that the borough explore growing its own Christmas trees.

“I have always liked that we have a tree,” Waddell said. “I would like council to consider the possibility of planting some trees on borough property. We could purchase, say, 50 trees.

“It would be interesting in the coming years to have our own home-grown trees. I think it’s a good community venture and it gives us a natural tree and we know we are going to have one without someone having to scurry round in different counties,” he said.

Borough council president Lee Ann Gilbert assigned the task of exploring the feasibility of home-grown Christmas trees to Waddell’s general administration committee because of the committee’s ties to the borough’s Shade Tree Commission.

Pamela November 29, 2011 at 09:59 PM
Did you see this years tree... Its hilarious! Charlie brown xmas tree.. Thats an embarressment to the town.
Beth November 30, 2011 at 02:38 AM
I think the that's a good idea for the borough to plant its own trees. Maybe the community could get involved too. Offer an opportunity for the community to help beautify the borough and become active in it. So many people enjoy the benefits of our nice little town, but how many are really involved? I am grateful that we have a tree in the triangle.
EMMAUS FOREVER November 30, 2011 at 04:57 AM
Just another non-important fact about Emmaus!!! The tree looks like crap...growing our own isn't going to change anything. Wake up people...we need change in council.
Bridget November 30, 2011 at 12:34 PM
When considering this idea, it's important to know that it takes a lot of time and money to grow Christmas trees. They need to be pruned often, fertilized, sprayed with pesticides (unfortunately), watered, etc....It is not like planting other types of trees, when you just water it initially and then just let it grow, with occasional pruning and maintenance. I do not know the price of a extra large Christmas tree, but I assume that this cost would have to be weighed against the cost of growing one. It is always a good idea to encourage more community involvement , so if this idea doesn't work I hope we can find other ways to keep Emmaus beautiful and a great place to live.
WRVinovskis November 30, 2011 at 05:11 PM
Growing your own tree would make sense if the borough already had some sort of nursery set up where they kept and nurtured plants year-round for the landscaping of the town (like some colleges and universities do). Apart from this kind of set-up, it seems to me it would be a waste of money and resources, and a distraction from the primary mission of the Public Works Department.
Black Sheep November 30, 2011 at 06:11 PM
What else would you expect from Mike Waddell? Be careful. Your taxes could be raised just to support this stupid idea.
Craig Neely November 30, 2011 at 06:50 PM
When the Borough redesigned the Triangle, there was discussion about planting a new tree on the Triangle. There was disagreement among Council Members. The compromise result was to not plant a tree, but to assure the public that every year a "real" Christmas tree would be placed on the Triangle. Finding a suitable tree every year to keep this promise has proven very difficult. Though the Borough was lucky to find decent trees in the past, it was like trying to find a needle in a haystack. This year was even more difficult. The Borough settled on the best that it could find, that was both available and feasible to fell. Admittedly, this year's tree is not as attractive as those in prior years. One alternative is to change course and use an artificial tree. In the long run, It would save time, money, and effort, but a concern is the public's reaction to using an artificial tree. It would be interesting to hear some respectful feedback from the public about the use of an artificial tree every year. Craig Neely, Emmaus Borough Manager
Chris DeFrain December 01, 2011 at 01:06 PM
Craig, I would rather see us cut some costs by using an artificial tree than by cutting certain services. The tree is up for 5 or 6 weeks at the most. Once the initial shock is over, I would hope people would be fine with the artificial tree. This shouldn't be a life changing decision for the Borough or it's residents.
Bridget December 01, 2011 at 11:11 PM
I agree with Chris DeFrain
Mike Waddell December 02, 2011 at 02:40 AM
My suggestion to consider cultivating our own Christmas trees is an attempt to learn more about what that entails so that we can explore becoming self-sufficient in providing a tree each year. I don’t know how long it takes, the labor involved, trimming needed, etc. but we are fortunate that we have people in the borough and particularly on the Shade Tree Commission who do know about such things. This may be a trail to nowhere but what if we find that we could make this into a nice community venture that is eco-friendly, a learning experience for young and old, safer for our employees who must cut and transport the tree, creates an ongoing tradition, etc.? A proper artificial tree will cost about $15,000 (that’s ½ price after the holidays!) which may be a viable option, but, I don’t believe it should be paid for by residents’ taxes (sorry Black Sheep whoever you are) and I’m concerned about how long an artificial tree will actually last. If that is the path we have to travel then I believe there should be a fundraising campaign to raise the needed money. My own belief is that the tree is a symbol of the holidays and that the traditions that surround it are more important than the appearance of the Tree itself….but that’s just me. btw- thanks to the people who don’t hide behind a veil of anonymity to make their comments…particularly the negative ones.
Jim Kahle December 02, 2011 at 01:47 PM
Mike: Ignore the "ne'er do well" wishers... MANY people appreciate your lateral thinking. I never took from this article that this was a done deal...just an attempt to address the on-going challenge of finding a community tree for the holidays. I agree that more research will be needed to confirm or deny the feasibility of this venture, but I applaud your ideas and appreciate all that you do for the Emmaus community .
Cheryl Saul December 02, 2011 at 09:29 PM
I looked for the tree today, expecting to be as gruesome as some of you have been complaining about... and found it to be lovely. Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus and a few grinches too. :-D
Black Sheep December 05, 2011 at 03:42 PM
I don’t believe anyone stated that this was a done deal but on November 22, 2011 an article in the Patch entitled, “Living in Emmaus Will Cost $10 More in 2012”, Mike Waddell was quoted “I would like to see us just increase the millage and be straight up about it.” The article also stated “Council members Mike Waddell, Labenberg and Lee Ann Gilbert voted to balance the budget with a tax increase.” Mr. Waddell’s answer to everything seems to be raise our taxes - tree purchases included.
Mike Waddell December 05, 2011 at 10:21 PM
Black Sheep...whomever you are, if you look at the meeting video you will see/hear that the comments you cite relate to either closing the approximately $70,000 budget shortfall by raising the water/sewer rates or increasing the millage with my choice being the millage as noted...the context is obviously important for accuracy of intent.
Chris DeFrain December 06, 2011 at 12:42 AM
I don't quite understand why we would want to raise the water fees to make up the difference when the causes of the budget gap I "assume" are not related to the water fees and expenses related to water. The gap is related to the real estate tax received and the cost of the services Emmaus provides it's residents. Transparency is a good thing. Why not raise the right rates the millage rather than raise something unrelated. Different residents use different services. I wouldn't expect a business to charge customer A additional because Customer B's products are losing money. Charge Customer B more money or better yet eliminate some costs on customer B's products to make that product self sufficient. Dr. Waddell I agree that if we have to raise water rates or millage it should come from the millage. I would hope however that we could find some more expense cuts so we don't have to raise any rates. The problem with budgets is once we give (in good times) most of us don't have the stomach to take (in bad times). Knowing this, we need to be more careful in good times.
Jim Kahle December 06, 2011 at 02:11 AM
Mike: Take my advice...(with a grin and a grain of salt) Don't argue with an idiot...They will drag you down to their level...Then beat you with experience...

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