Residents can get $50 for snow plow damaged mailboxes

By on November 18, 2011

by Sandy Kaczmarski
ELBURN—The Elburn Committee of the Whole on Monday discussed a proposed ordinance that would allow residents whose mailboxes were damaged from a snow plow while streets are being cleared to be eligible for a $50 reimbursement.

Jenna Cook from the Public Works Department drafted the ordinance to clarify that the village is not responsible for poorly maintained or improperly installed mailboxes that are damaged from snow being pushed up against them.

“We’ll repair (damaged mailboxes) if we physically hit them with our snow plow equipment,” Cook said.

The ordinance was drafted following guidelines from the U. S. Postal Service and a similar ordinance in Geneva.

“The majority of the mailboxes that were damaged in past years were not maintained by the residents, with rotted posts or screws that were rotted out,” Cook said.

Public Works employee Bob Edwards admits he’s taken out a few mailboxes from time to time, not unlike the infamous Snowplow Man from the movie “Snow Day.” But Edwards says it’s rare when he’s plowing the streets of Elburn that he gets close enough to the curb to knock one down.

Cook added that a properly installed and maintained mailbox should withstand snow coming off the snow plow. She said if the village replaces a damaged box, residents will get a treated post and a standard metal mailbox. Any other type of mailbox can be replaced by the homeowner, who will be eligible for a $50 reimbursement in lieu of an insurance claim against the village.

Cook said if a mailbox is damaged and a resident reports it, someone from the Public Works Department will come to the home within 72 hours to inspect the damage to verify whether the mailbox was properly installed and if the village is at fault.

“The critical issue here is the mailboxes must be properly installed according to the U.S. Postal Service regulations,” Village President Dave Anderson said. “Chances are if they’re like that, the Postmaster wouldn’t approve delivering to them, either.”

The committee will discuss the ordinance’s language further before sending it to the Village Board for approval.