Whenever the crews from the local electric companies trim trees near power lines there's a public outcry from residents appalled at what they see as a desecration. That's understandable since part of the beauty and charm of Aiken is the lovely trees. Electric company officials say they must trim the trees to avoid those dangerous and annoying power outages caused by limbs falling wires. But perhaps the scarcity of power outages during this week's snow and ice storm will convince some that the tree trimming is necessary - at least until the community decides it's time to invest in burying the lines. In 2004, Aiken County was slammed by an ice storm that knocked power out to 39,000 SCE&G customers and 13,000 Aiken Electric Cooperative customers. That can be dangerous as temperatures plunge. After the 2004 storm the utility companies stepped up tree-trimming efforts. Instead of just topping trees, workers began removing limbs that could impact wire during a storm. But, whenever workers trimmed in a neighborhood the electric companies heard from angry residents. Even assurances from the City's Horticulturist, Tom Rapp, that the trees were trimmed in such a way that will support future growth away from the power lines, hasn't silenced the critics. Yes, the 2004 storm was much worse than the storm this week. That year Aiken was one of 14 counties in South Carolina to be declared forest disaster areas as a result of the storm. But the proof is in the results: This week only 35 Aiken Co-op in this area and a little more than 1,000 local SCE&G customers went without power because of the storm. Clearly the tree trimming helped. The only way to avoid tree trimming is to bury the power lines. Most of the lines in the downtown area have been buried. But it's not cheap. City officials say its costs $50,000 to $100,000 to bury lines in a single block. That adds up fast. The City does have $1 million from the 1-cent sales tax set aside if it decides to move forward with line burial. But given the current budget situation of more pressing needs in the city, it's not likely, or prudent, to begin a large scale effort to bury lines. Until the money is available we prefer the inevitable tree-trimming to massive power outages during storms.