Would You Pay Extra $10 Tax For More Trees In Phoenix?

Published: Monday, December 25, 2017 - 5:00am
Updated: Monday, December 25, 2017 - 7:05am
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(Photo by Christina Estes - KJZZ)
Phoenix is exploring ways to add more trees throughout the city.
(Photo by Christina Estes - KJZZ)
A community survey produced by City of Phoenix finds strong support for more trees across the city.

People who live or work in Phoenix are being asked to help set environmental priorities and early input from a survey reveals trees are a top priority.

City staff will use results of an online survey to develop an action plan to cut carbon pollution by up to 30 percent by the year 2025. The survey offers a list of eight areas and asks people to choose five to comment on. The most popular topic so far has been "More Trees."

“Ninety-two percent said we really think the idea to double the number of trees in Phoenix is a great idea,” said Mark Hartman, chief sustainability officer.

He said 72 percent of people said they would be willing to pay $10 more in annual taxes to pay for 10,000 new drought-tolerant trees each year. During the recession, Hartman said the parks and streets departments cut tree maintenance, but no longer.

“So our Street Deparment’s now made a commitment, ‘We’re going to replace every tree lost to storms,’” he explained. “Not always in the same place if it’s not a good place or if it’s not the right kind of tree. But, we’re really looking at planting thousands of trees in the city.”

When asked if the city should require developers to also add trees, Hartman replied, “We really need to lead by example first. So, the first move is to say OK, let’s get our own house in order and really make sure we are doing all we can as a city with all our assets.”

The online survey also includes questions about energy-efficient homes, upgrades to canals to encourage walking and biking and electric vehicles. For example, would you consider buying one in the next five years? Should the city use tax dollars to install charging stations? Should Phoenix require new homes be pre-wired for charging?

“So, they’re not so much to say what should the policy be, but just to say this is a priority, let’s figure out ways to make it happen,” Hartman said.

On Jan. 9, he plans to ask the City Council to set a community-wide goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions (carbon pollution) by 30 percent by the year 2025 from 2012 levels. Hartman says the city will use results of the survey to develop an action plan to achieve the goal. You can find the survey here.

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