Archived Story

City’s mailbox replacement policy may get changed

Published 8:55am Monday, February 24, 2014

The Niles City Council will consider changing city policy regarding the replacement of roadside mailboxes damaged during snow removal at tonight’s regular meeting.

Currently, the city replaces mailboxes damaged by any means during city winter snow removal, including indirect damage.

The new policy, if approved, would allow replacement only if city equipment comes into direct contact with the mailbox, causing damage. Mailboxes would also have to be properly installed and in good condition to qualify.

City Administrator Ric Huff said the city’s current policy is unique and that most municipalities have replacement policies closer to the one the council will consider adopting.

“We have an incredibly lenient policy,” he said.

On average, Huff said the city replaces about five mailboxes a year. Most of those, he said, are a result of improperly mounted boxes or rotted posts/box bases — not direct contact with city equipment.

“Basically we are replacing a lot of mailboxes that, if they were really in proper condition, would have survived the winter just fine,” he said.

This year, the city has had to replace more than 30 mailboxes due to indirect damage, Huff said.

“It’s been an extraordinary winter for us, at least compared to recent years, so we’ve had a substantial number of claims,” he said. “It’s pretty expensive to the citizens of Niles to basically replace things that were worn out.”

The minimal cost to replace a mailbox is $129.12, including labor and parts. However, Huff said the cost can increase substantially when replacing decorative mailboxes.

Huff estimates the new policy would save the city approximately $650 annually.

If passed, the council would have to decide when the new policy would take effect.

People can report damaged mailboxes by calling city hall.

The council is scheduled to meet at 6 p.m. tonight at the Niles Fire Station.

 

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