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Mark Pulido

One of my favorite things about Cerritos is the beautiful urban forest of trees that we have at our parks and City facilities, on our medians, and parkways right outside our homes. There are approximately 28,000 trees
throughout our community. Mature, well-maintained trees enhance the value of homes and neighborhoods. They help moderate temperatures, lower energy costs and provide oxygen.

Since March 2016, the Cerritos City Council has committed to an increase in tree trimming maintenance. In the 2016-2017 fiscal year, 6,980 trees were trimmed by the City’s contractor, Golden West Arborists, and 1,500 trees were trimmed by City staff, resulting in a total of 8,480 trees trimmed. In the 2017-2018 fiscal year, the City Council approved an increased budget of $950,000 for tree trimming, resulting in a total of 7,916 trees trimmed. So far in this fiscal year, the City’s contractor, Great Scott Tree Service, has trimmed 1,665 trees, and City staff has trimmed 975 trees.

The City is comprised of 20 tree trimming districts of roughly the same geographical size. The City follows standard tree trimming guidelines provided by the International Society of Aboriculture (ISA), which recommend that, in general, trees be trimmed on average every four years. ISA standards also dictate that no more than 25 percent of a tree be removed during trimming. Severe overpruning is prohibited as it can weaken the health of the tree. 

Staff and City contractors remove approximately 300 trees annually that are determined to be hazardous. The City’s Municipal Code dictates that staff can only remove trees for health and safety purposes. After listening to the tree concerns of hundreds of Cerritos residents before and since being elected in 2011 to the City Council, I was motivated to push for necessary reform of the City’s tree policy.  After great discussion on the Property Preservation Commission and City Council, in 2014 the City Council approved a modification to the City’s Tree Removal Policy, which allows for tree removal if a parkway tree has caused significant damage to private property as supported by an approved claim. The policy also allows residents to pay for parkway tree trimming and/or tree removal by contracting directly with a tree maintenance company that meets City-specified qualifications.  I am pleased that these amendments to City policy have made a difference for many residents regarding their tree concerns.

The City’s comprehensive tree management program, which has been allocated $2,181,370 in fiscal year 2018-2019, includes trimming, removal, replacement, disease management and the identification of problematic trees in urban settings. Our overall goal is to encourage a park-like community through the development of landscaped public areas and open spaces, and to preserve and protect our trees to provide valuable benefits to our community.

Updated tree trimming district maps that track the progress of the City’s tree trimming project are available on the City’s website at cerritos.us. Click on the “Residents” bar on the left-hand side, then select “Public Works” and “Tree Trimming.” For more information on street-tree care or the City’s tree ordinance, call the Public Works Department at (562) 916-1220.

Streets are also a priority in our City. Cerritos encompasses more than 136 miles of paved streets throughout the City. Since 1992, the City has utilized an innovative Pavement Management System to monitor the condition of its streets and to prioritize ongoing street repairs and future expenditures. The City’s system identifies the streets that are in most need of repair and recommends the most efficient way to repair them. Work may range from a minor repair to a complete reconstruction. In the current fiscal year, the City has allocated $948,095 for residential street rehabilitation, $500,700 for sidewalk, curb and gutter rehabilitation and $376,835 for slurry seal of arterial streets.

Last year the City Council awarded a contract to update its Pavement Management System, which is a mandatory prerequisite for obtaining most state and federal funding for infrastructure maintenance. The update also will allow the City to continue to provide the most cost-effective analysis of its streets. The last update was completed in 2012.

The City Council recently awarded contracts for residential street rehabilitation, in the area bordered by 183rd Street, Artesia Boulevard, Bloomfield Avenue and Norwalk Boulevard. The work includes pavement rehabilitation, tree removal and concrete improvements.

A $376,835 contract was awarded to Sequel Contractors of Santa Fe Springs, which will be performing the asphalt work. Golden West Arborists of Pomona was awarded a contract in the amount of $70,560 to remove 62 trees, and CJ Concrete Construction of Santa Fe Springs was awarded a contract in the amount of $500,700 to perform the concrete portion of the project.

The tree removal work has been completed and the concrete improvements are scheduled to be done by the end of November. The slurry seal work is expected to be completed in the spring.

The City places a very high priority on maintaining its streets infrastructure, and will continue to make street enhancements to improve the quality of life for its residents and businesses. 

The City encourages residents and business owners to report any potholes or damaged streets, curbs, sidewalks, medians or gutters in public right-of-way areas by calling the City’s Maintenance Division at (562) 407-2632, Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Reports can also be made through the City’s GoRequest app by downloading the application to a mobile device or visiting the City’s website here. A maintenance worker will visit the reported site and arrange for appropriate repairs to be made as soon as possible.