Fallen tree during Henri sparks controversy in New Jersey town

HILLSIDE, New Jersey (WABC) -- Many people are still cleaning up from Henri and one homeowner in New Jersey who had a tree fall on her house is now in a battle with her town.

She says she has been begging the town to trim the tree for years, but now that it has crashed down, she's on the hook for the bill.

"For at least the past 15-20 years, I've been asking them to just trim the tree," said Marlene Canty.

The tree came crashing down during Sunday's storm with tenant Kim Muhammad and her family inside the home.

"About maybe 10 minutes to 12, we heard a big boom," Muhammad said. "When I opened the door that's when I saw all my neighbors with their phones and calling our name saying don't come out, don't come out, wait for help."

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Candy says it didn't have to happen if the city would have trimmed the tree like she and her neighbors had been asking for years.

"If they had trimmed the tree, the branches would not have gotten heavy like that and grown over my roof," she said. "This tree is not even in front of my house, it's in front of my neighbor's house."

And it was on that sliver of property that the city owns, but Candy says the city told her she has to pay for the removal, about $7,000, even though she says they have been telling her for some time they were coming to trim it back.
"They've been saying you're next on our list, we're going to get you next and trim the tree and we haven't seen them," Canty said.

Neighbors say the city removed worrisome trees before.

Canty says she's been trying to reach the mayor.

"I called, I couldn't get her, I couldn't get her assistants, I emailed and I still have not heard from her," Canty said.

Eyewitness News tried to reach Mayor Dahlia Vertreese by email and phone but got a message that her voicemail box had not been set up yet.

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