City Council approved the removal of two publicly owned trees and maintenance to two others at its Oct. 5 meeting. Public Works Director Bob Richards requested approval to remove all four trees, but councilors favored saving two because of cost savings and general tree health.

Belfast pays Nate Benner $300 per hour to remove trees and is able to cut costs by having Public Works dispose of them after they are cut down, City Councilor Mike Hurley said. He said sometimes it is cheaper to prune a tree than to have it removed.

A tree at 15 John St. has a hollow in its base, but Hurley, who looked at each tree before the council meeting, said “it still has a lot of life left in it,” and recommended having the tree pruned rather than removing it.

Councilor Mary Mortier supported removing the tree, because she said it drops a lot of branches during storms and high winds. But other councilors voted to pay for pruning instead.

The council saved another tree at the corner of Race Street and 149 Union St. Hurley said the crown still looks good. He and other councilors voted to have the tree recabled. Mortier was not in favor of recabling the tree because of previous incidents where recabling did not resolve issues.

One tree on the corner of Cedar and Spring streets has not grown leaves in a while and, Hurley said, is “dead as a door nail.” Another tree at 14 John St. was slated for removal. Council voted for both trees to be removed.