Somerset's mayor and Town Council last week issued orders to cut down 22 hazardous trees at a cost of $4,000.

Mayor A. Eugene Miller said Council members and residents alike have grown concerned about old oaks and maples along the town's streets. They are afraid a tree could topple and strike a pedestrian or fall into traffic.

They recall the last July a rotten limb dropped onto Dorchester Avenue and thousands of angry bees poured out of their demolished home, holding residents at bay until authorities arrived.

"That tree, interestingly enough, is still alive," Miller said. "But that one is coming down."

Although town officials believe the bee episode is unlikely to be repeated, they still worry about dead trees or trees that are alive but rotten at the base, Miller said.

Last month, state forestry agents surveyed the town's trees to determine which ones were likely to go. Afterwards, town officials drew up a hit list of 22 targets scattered along streets throughout the town.

Miller said Bartlett Tree Experts Inc. has the tree removal contract, and before the year is out, Somerset residents will be able to walk the streets without worrying that they sky is about to fall.