County won’t pay for some damage to mailboxes

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Commissioners adopt resolution on making repairs

Managing Editor

TELL CITY – Perry County’s commissioners approved in a regular meeting March 18 a resolution spelling out when the county will and will not be responsible for mailboxes damaged by highway-department operations.

It’s difficult for drivers plowing snow and ice from roads to avoid inflicting damage on mailboxes, county Highway Superintendent Ed Feix explained.

“You’re going down the road at 35 or 40 miles an hour … projectiles are flying out from your blade,” he said. When one hits a plastic mailbox or its supporting post, “I don’t have to tell you what happens.”

He receives calls after snowstorms from people asking him to repair their mailboxes or posts, he continued. If a county vehicle actually hits one, “we’ll take responsibility for it,” he said, but otherwise, “we can’t go back and fix every mailbox.”

Many are very sturdy while others wouldn’t take much of a breeze to knock down, he added. “You’ve got some that are sitting on barrels.”

Mailboxes are on county rights-of-way, he continued, and county attorney Chris Goffinet drafted a resolution reflecting what Feix said has always been an unwritten policy.

In addition to absolving the county of responsibility for plow-blade projectiles, it stipulates the county won’t be accountable for damage to mailboxes less than three feet from a road. Nor will reparations be offered if a mailbox “is found to have been in an unsound condition prior to the damages.”

Both stipulations include the phrase, “regardless of the circumstances causing the damage.”

A paragraph asserting the county will be responsible for mailboxes struck by county vehicles includes maintenance trucks, mowing equipment and snowplows operated by subcontractors at the request of the county highway department.

Saying it was needed, Commissioner Randy Kleaving offered a motion to adopt the resolution, which the others supported.

Feix also secured the commissioners’ approval on an annual spending report he said he’s required to submit to the state.