What to do when dealing with problems with city trees

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- One Milwaukee woman said she had trouble getting in contact of anyone on Independence Day when a limb on a city tree split near her home.

Jill Stalter said her 4th of July holiday was spent worrying about a limb from a tree hanging over the sidewalk in front of her home.

City officials said with 190,000 street trees they deal with, they do their best to respond when someone is having trouble.

"There were kids out here, and at one point in time there was a little girl walking and I'm like, please stop!," recalled Stalter.

She said her first call was to the city.

"Rang and rang and rang, no voicemail," said Stalter.

Then she made other calls to police and other departments. When nobody said they could help, she went to bed, hoping nothing bad happened.

The next day she finally got in contact with the city and explained the situation.

"5, 10 minutes later [a worker] shows up, examines the tree, gets on the phone, and a team shows up like 15 minutes later," said Stalter.

Forestry Services Manager for the Department of Public Works Randy Krouse said all trees in the city are on schedules for maintenance, but their crews can't be everywhere at once.

"We also rely on the public to keep an eye on our retreat, and if they see any large deadwood or any defect in a tree or a downed limb or a downed tree we want to know about it," said Krouse.

He said while they have faced staffing shortages like everyone else right now, there are people available 24/7, and calling the city is the best way to get in contact with someone for help.

"Call (414) 286-CITY, (414) 286-2489, which is our unified call center," recited Krouse.

He said they'll send someone out first to remove problem limbs, then if necessary, send additional crews to remove the trunk and stump at a later date.

Stalter says now the tree is removed, but she hopes in the future it's easier to get in contact with someone for the job.

"Where's the prompt for emergency services 24/7 regardless of holiday," asked Stalter.

City officials say if whatever you're dealing with isn't an emergency, you can also make a request online here.

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