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Author Topic: Working with municipalities  (Read 8138 times)

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Offline Todd

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Working with municipalities
« on: August 27, 2007, 08:50:14 AM »
I wanted to ask if anone out there is working with a county, township, or municipality (or whatever local government is called by you).  I've been working with the city of Monroe, Michigan for 2 years now, and after some arm twiting to convince the city's head of the forestry it was a good idea they love it.  Has anyone else had any luck at this?

Also, anyone in the lower mitten, I'll be up in Monroe milling and giving a demo for the Minnesota DNR wed.  8/29 from 8-2 or so.  come by, watch, and heckle me if ya like ;D (222 Jones Ave. Monroe, Mi   Monroe DPW, behind State Police Post)
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Online beenthere

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Re: Working with municipalities
« Reply #1 on: August 27, 2007, 09:28:31 AM »
.......................  I've been working with the city of Monroe, Michigan for 2 years now, and after some arm twiting to convince the city's head of the forestry it was a good idea they love it.  Has anyone else had any luck at this?
................

Not sure what you did  ??? ???
Are you the new forester for Monroe, MI now?   ..or did you talk the city's head into hiring a forester, or start practicing "forestry" ? ???

south central Wisconsin
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Offline Furby

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Re: Working with municipalities
« Reply #2 on: August 27, 2007, 01:42:52 PM »
Milling BT, milling. ;)

Online beenthere

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Re: Working with municipalities
« Reply #3 on: August 27, 2007, 01:55:09 PM »
Furby always knows where to put the punctuation marks....thanks.  Think I have it figured out now.  ;D ;D ;D
south central Wisconsin
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Offline Daren

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Re: Working with municipalities
« Reply #4 on: August 27, 2007, 01:55:29 PM »
  Has anyone else had any luck at this?


Like you it took some convincing on my end, but I work with the city, rural road commission, local cemetery caretakers (got some beauties from these 150 year old cemeteries, wow) drainage districts, local utilities, DNR, Corps of Eng, private contractors for any and all of the above and more...
Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.

Offline Todd

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Re: Working with municipalities
« Reply #5 on: August 27, 2007, 02:00:07 PM »
It was perfectly clear in my head what I meant to say...I guess it didn't make the leap to the page, eh?? ::)
I meant milling...I cut on a share basis for them: lets me get wood, lets them get wood, and saves them from having to pay to get the logs that I can mill hauled away.

Daren, glad to hear you've had some luck.  I'm curious, do they give you the wood, are you cutting some for them, or are you paying somthing to get the wood?
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Offline Daren

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Re: Working with municipalities
« Reply #6 on: August 27, 2007, 04:01:21 PM »

Daren, glad to hear you've had some luck.  I'm curious, do they give you the wood, are you cutting some for them, or are you paying somthing to get the wood?

Not paying for sure. I have posted this someplace here before. My deal is informal, they bring me logs instead of haul them to burn. IF they need a couple boards to make a park bench/barricade/sidewalk concrete form board...they know where to come. They only need low grade lumber for what they use it for and less than 1% of the total they bring they ask for back. They make out in 2 ways, 1 they were hauling it to burn anyway and the logs take longer to burn than just the brush which they still do burn. That saves them labor burning it. The second way is it is a drive from this rural town to a decent lumber yard for a handful of 1Xs, a city employee for example would have 1/2 day + gas in fetching material for a small project instead of just drop by here and pick up a couple boards.
Obviously I make out buy giving them back low grade and selling the good stuff. They were going to burn it anyway, what do they care. I have beat this one log to death here, but, the city delivered a curly maple log to clean up a vacant lot. It was either drop it here or burn it, I sawed out 1000 bft and have sold some of it for $17.50 bft sawn 4/4".
I do "favors" for logs too. Sharpen a handful of chainsaws chains, or in the case of the cemetery caretakers I keep their mower blades sharp if they drop them off here. (I also have a tool sharpening business). I have sawn a few logs for free to make a new "friend" and gotten 100X that amount from them free in return.
Most are just glad someone is able to put the logs to good use and are more than happy to be rid of them.
Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.

Offline Todd

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Re: Working with municipalities
« Reply #7 on: September 01, 2007, 02:31:29 PM »
Daren,
Sounds like a great set-up: everyone gets somthing and the useable logs become somthing more than garbage.  Thats exactly the kind of thing I'm trying to get communities around here to do, but change is slow sometimes. 
Making somthing idiot-proof only leads to the creation of bigger idiots!

Offline Kelvin

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Re: Working with municipalities
« Reply #8 on: September 01, 2007, 06:36:04 PM »
Daren has a good setup there.  I've tried with my local municipalities and they are really hard to get to do anything.  I think they are too big.  Anyone who makes decisions doesn't care.  Grind 'em, its no sweat off their noses.  If you pay them, they don't get anything, so who cares.  They don't make anything out of wood, or anything period.  I think you have to find the right size town to live next too. 

I just tried making a deal with a local big ten college that has tons of trees, and 7 full time arborists.  They have been grinding trees, paying $60k a year in rental to do so.  They suggested i propose how much i can pay for them.  I sent in a proposal about 2 weeks ago suggesting shares at 75% to me (i pick them up too) and 25% them, or .10 a bd ft for predominantly dead, open grown trees, with who knows what in them.  Haven't heard from them.  Their logs are real pretty trees, but they didn't grow in the woods, so they don't make real high grade lumber.  They aren't worth enough to fill up the fuel tanks on the new tree spade they showed me.  They just bought it for $160k! 

Its hard to get someone motiviated if they don't have anything to gain one way or the other.  I suppose i should just ask if i can give him money to make it happen.  The university spends more getting the gum off the bleachers at the stadium than i will make in a lifetime of sawing, how could they ever be impressed?

Funny other note is they were real proud of their woodshop at the physical plant.  "you should see it" and if these guys are impressed, i'm sure its something!  I asked what typed of wood they typically use, what they make, and he said.  "hmmm.  I guess they make plaques and awards for the university"  Wow, that is real economical!

Offline Dan_Shade

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Re: Working with municipalities
« Reply #9 on: September 01, 2007, 06:44:47 PM »
with towns and colleges, you have to make beuracracy and political pressure work for you.  You have to lobby for the change, and "covertly" create an atmosphere which is condusive to getting the lumber.

You've also got to be able to keep up your end of the deal when they need a log hauled off.
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There's a fine line between turning firewood into beautiful things and beautiful things into firewood.

Offline Daren

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Re: Working with municipalities
« Reply #10 on: September 02, 2007, 07:39:07 AM »
  I've tried with my local municipalities and they are really hard to get to do anything. 

Try again, and again and again. My deal was 2-3 years in the making . I still have to stay on top of it always looking for new sources and keep my current ones "reminded" of me. My early efforts fell on deaf ears, I felt like I was pushing a large stone uphill. I would get a few guys to see things my way and feel great about it...then come across a 40" quilted maple smoldering in a municipal burn pile with no way to save it  :'(. I am not going to repeat everything I have said in this section about going to city board meetings/township road meetings (county board)/letters to governing bodies/newpaper press releases...

but change is slow sometimes. 

To be honest in the beginning calling a logger and paying for them would have been more labor/cost effective, I still have months I feel that way. But that is not my bag, I am about stopping the waste, not just making lumber.
Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.

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Re: Working with municipalities
« Reply #11 on: September 02, 2007, 08:03:30 AM »

newpaper press releases...



I am going to start a new thread soon about how to write a press release to get "free logs", a very effective strategy. It just "costs" you a little time to write it, but can pay off BIG. If anyone would be interested  ???
Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.

Offline johncinquo

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Re: Working with municipalities
« Reply #12 on: September 04, 2007, 02:33:39 PM »
9/29  monroe MI.  Any west siders up for a road trip? 
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Offline Todd

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Re: Working with municipalities
« Reply #13 on: September 04, 2007, 05:12:25 PM »
johncinquo...are you a forgiving man? ::)

I meant to say August 29th, meaning I was up there last week (I wondered why no one came :'()

the people from the DNR liked the demonstration, and I'll be doing some more work with Monroe, so I'll make sure to post A CORRECT date and time the next time I'm up there.  (I need a secretary to check the things I post on here before the world is further confused by me ;D)

Sorry again,
Todd
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Offline MSU_Keith

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Re: Working with municipalities
« Reply #14 on: September 06, 2007, 12:01:08 PM »
Todd,

Do you mill on site for Monroe or just haul logs away?  Just wondering if the city had any concerns over liability of you cutting on their property.


Offline Todd

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Re: Working with municipalities
« Reply #15 on: September 06, 2007, 12:59:10 PM »
I mill onsite...just a standard waiver to sign.  I know that liability is always an issue with larger governments...lucky this is still kinda farm country I guess.
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Re: Working with municipalities
« Reply #16 on: September 06, 2007, 02:02:46 PM »
 :D  I cant figure out now if I had it wrong or you did, the post says 8/29.....  either way, post up when your doing it again and I'll see if I can come over.
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Offline Todd

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Re: Working with municipalities
« Reply #17 on: September 07, 2007, 09:24:55 AM »
John, you must be going crazy!! ;D
(or I edited the post after I realized that I put 9/29 instead of 8/29 ::))
(please don't tell my wife I admitted to making a mistake---thats a slope I DO NOT want to start down!!)
Making somthing idiot-proof only leads to the creation of bigger idiots!

Offline Todd

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Re: Working with municipalities
« Reply #18 on: December 03, 2007, 09:12:31 AM »
Finally!!  Got some good press and some people that want to use their wood!  I was in the city of Southgate, Mi. all last week and the local paper showed up and did a nice story.   http://www.thenewsherald.com/stories/113007/loc_20071130001.shtml

The story has some mistakes, such as I usually saw 25% them, 75% me, but it was nice to get someone to take notice.

I'll probably be up there 12/5-12/7 also, if anyone wants to drop by.

Making somthing idiot-proof only leads to the creation of bigger idiots!

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Re: Working with municipalities
« Reply #19 on: December 03, 2007, 12:32:01 PM »
Todd.

Good for you, nice write up by the paper 8)
Jerry


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