WCCO-TV’s Liz Collin Reports
BURNSVILLE (WCCO) — When plows clear streets, there are bound to be some mailbox casualties. The question now being considered in Burnsville is who should pay to fix or replace broken mailboxes — the city or the homeowner.
Last year, Burnsville spent almost $5,800 on mailboxes damaged during plowing. Crews replaced 38 mailboxes and repaired another 40 or so. That $5,800 is only replacement boxes and replacement materials. Labor costs were not included in the figure.
“We spend a ton of time. Our public works department spends a ton of time on mailboxes — on fixing them,” said Public Works Director Bud Osmundson during a City Council work session Tuesday.
Osmundson wants the City to follow a suggestion from its insurance provider, the League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust.
“The League recommends that we’re not responsible,” said Osmundson, “That the city should not be responsible unless it’s hit by the plow.”
Making the switch would put Burnsville in line with the Minnesota Department of Transportation policy.
Some Burnsville homeowners think the city should pay for a damaged mailbox even if the plow doesn’t come in direct contact with the box.
“They should replace it,” said Lisa Stevens. “They need to be more careful.”
“I don’t think a lot of people know that the city would replace it,” said Karen Hatle.
Hatle and her husband have been straightening their mailbox post themselves when plows push too much snow too close to it. She figures her mailbox would cost around $100 to replace. Boxes in Burnsville run the gamut from plain to fancy.
“The nice ones, the bricked ones and stuff like that, those can get pretty pricey,” said Hatle.
The Burnsville City Council is expected to vote on the proposed change on Feb. 22.
Paula Engelking, Producer