Starke County Commissioners Approve Highway Dept’s Mailbox Policy

Starke County Highway Superintendent Rik Ritzler provided County Commissioners with the Department’s mailbox repair and replacement policy when they met Tuesday night.

He noted that the policy is that same as it has been for the past few years but he feels it’s important to bring it before them on an annual basis so people know that it has been reviewed and approved by the Commissioners.

Ritzler mentioned that the Department has been keeping track of mailbox complaints since January of 2015. He said in that amount of time they’ve received 234 complaints and have replaced 38 under their current policy.

Ritzler explained, “[There’s been] 219 mailbox complaints in the winter, 15 in the summer. Our mowers and choppers do occasionally hit them and vehicles hit them but it’s very rare as you see.” He continued, “The average recorded distance of a brim of a complaint is just over three feet so almost all of them are within the range that we do not repair them.

He shared also some data with the commissioners and noted that mailboxes aren’t damaged as often as people think.

Ritzler shared, “To put these statistics in another perspective, we plow about 60,000 lane miles a year. Out of every 1,200 lane miles that we plow, we get one complaint and one is replaced about 7,500 miles of plowing.”

Ritzler broke it down even further by discussing the amount of mailboxes that the Department passes by.

He stated, “Another way to look at it; there’s just under 10,000 mailboxes on our county routes so for every 9,000 we plow by, we get one complaint and for every 54,000 mailboxes we go by we have one that we have to replace under our policy.”

The policy states that if a Department vehicle directly impacts a mailbox that was located more than five feet from the edge of the roadway and causes damage to the box, it will be repaired or replaced with a standard mailbox and post.

However, any mailboxes damaged by snow and ice thrown from the roadway shall be considered an unavoidable event. The highway department does not claim responsibility for such instances and will not replace or reset mailboxes when it occurs.

The policy also noted that it is the responsibility of individual residents to ensure mailboxes are placed at least 5 feet from the edge of the roadway and are maintained in good order.

The Commissioners cast a unanimous vote to approve the policy as presented.