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Local tree surgeons want restrictions on tree-cutters

By Staff
TREE DOWN This house at 2810 26th St. was damaged when a tree recently fell on it. The tree, cut by an unlicensed worker, damaged the roof and the side of the home. Photo by Jena Wiggins / special to The Star
By Georgia E. Frye / staff writer
June 30, 2003
Meridian tree surgeons said they want the city council to pass an ordinance requiring people who cut trees to be licensed by the state.
Boyd is one of four licensed tree surgeons in Meridian. He and the others Charles Clearman, Rusty Rushing and Billy Mathis are planning to present their concerns during a July meeting of the Meridian City Council.
Clearman, owner of Charles' Tree Service, said they have been to the city council three or four times in the past asking for the ordinance but have gotten no response.
Clearman said he and the other tree surgeons are not worried about competition, nor are they trying to put anyone out of business. They are concerned that anyone can get a tree-cutter's permit with $50,000 of liability insurance and without any training.
The men agree that unlicensed tree-cutters are making their businesses difficult.
Boyd said improperly cut trees falling on houses is an ongoing problem in Meridian, and a licensed tree surgeon has expertise to prevent such things from happening.
The men estimate there are about 21 unlicensed tree-cutters working in Meridian. They also said unlicensed workers sometimes disappear after cutting down trees and never return to clean up the mess.
Mathis said the problem is causing his insurance rates to go up.
Rushing said he believes unlicensed tree-cutters are not operating in a respectable manner.
George Thomas, a member of Meridian's City Council, agreed that something should be done.
Thomas also said he would welcome the tree surgeon's suggestions about how the business could be regulated.

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