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Dangerous trees: City documents reveal public safety problem

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Updated: 7/06/2013 4:17 am
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- An Action News investigation is exposing a hold-up in the effort to remove dangerous trees from local neighborhoods.

The problem even left one teen paralyzed. We found a new city document that says the problem could only get worse. We also found a tree on the Southside Friday that was leaning so badly, neighbors tell us they've complained for more than a year. The tree is marked, but the dead branches still remain.

In 2011, a different tree was marked by the city too after several complaints, but never taken down. Instead, a large limb fell, paralyzing teenager Aubrey Stewart. Earlier this year, the public works director told us they were working to get dangerous trees taken care of with more money in the budget.

Now Action News uncovered it could take more time to get rid of dangerous trees. Tree trimming services in the city could be cut by more than $300,000 if the current proposed budget passes.

While the final budget decisions rest with City Council, Stewart is still struggling everyday. His mother told us in February, she hoped their tragedy would be the last. "Pray it was an eye opener so it doesn't happen to anyone else's kid," said Audrey Stewart.

A spokesperson for the city tells us there is still a significant amount of money left for mowing and tree trimming in the city, but didn't have the exact figures for us Friday.

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