(The following is an open letter to Mayor Pat Murphy of New Milford regarding the removal of hazardous trees.)

Dear Mayor Murphy:

I would like to give you some advice how to get homeowners to act responsibly and remove unsafe trees.

Fining homeowners is one way, but it doesn’t seem to do much.

My advice to is to look to other towns to see what they have implemented that works. I have seen towns just south of New Milford with several methods.

One that works well is printing up large warning notices.

In one town, the tree warden uses fluorescent yellow or orange spray paint. He or she sprays a large circle with an x in the middle. On top of that another line is sprayed around the tree or a yellow ribbon or caution tape is tied to get attention. Below that, warning notices are affixed on both front and back of the tree so the owner can’t miss it.

The notice measures 14 by 24 inches, with bright red letters warning of an unsafe tree.

A date has to be placed that the tree has to be taken down and the date the homeowner was notified. The warden then knocks on the door and issues a written warning, along with a copy of the homeowner’s liability and responsibilities. A copy of the notice is sent to the homeowner’s insurance company.

I did that years ago when my landlord would not remove a dead tree about to fall on my home. They gave my landlord notice in no uncertain terms the insurance wouldn’t cover for damages and the policy could be terminated.

I can tell you, for a fact, if New Milford displays noticed like these, trees will come down.

Everyone n the neighborhood will know you have an unsafe tree.

The Police and Fire departments will know you have been warned. They will note it on their report if the tree were to fall on a car.

Attorneys will know if an injury suit were to be filed.

No one wants the world to know he or she is irresponsible.

Kirk Dupas

New Milford