Town mulling policies on mailbox damage

SOUTHINGTON — The town is considering uniform reimbursement and repair policies for residents whose mailboxes and driveways are damaged by snowplows.

Town Manager Garry Brumback said the policies would apply to mailboxes and sections of driveways that are located in the town’s right of way.

The plans were discussed at a meeting of the Public Works Committee in early October.

At the meeting, Highway Superintendent Steve Wlodkowski estimated that 20 to 25 mailboxes are damaged each year by town snowplows.

Brumback explained the reason for a new policy. The current rule, which allows residents to be compensated for the full value of their mailboxes, is an “accounting nightmare,” he said.

Homeowners’ mailboxes range from the standard type that cost $25 to $35 to ones with elaborate designs that can cost hundreds of dollars, he explained.

Public Works Committee Chairman Peter Romano said it becomes “cost prohibitive” for town staff to investigate every mailbox claim that residents file.

Other Connecticut towns have instituted fixed reimbursement rates for mailboxes they damage, he added.

Committee members debated the appropriate reimbursement figure before settling on a rate of $75 per mailbox.

Brumback also explained the policy proposal concerning damaged driveways. The town would only repair driveways if they conform to municipal driveway standards, he said.

“We’ve got some people that have done some pretty ornate things to their driveways,” that do not comply with regulations, he said.

Brumback said that when driveways are damaged by snowplows, the affected area is usually limited to the apron.

However, the town tries to accommodate requests from homeowners with damaged driveways who request additional paving. Any extra work the town performs is at the resident’s expense, he said.

Romano said the driveway repair policy also would also apply in cases where driveways are damaged as a result of municipal road work.

The purpose of the proposed new rules is to “treat homeowners fairly, but also taxpayers,” Brumback said.

He said he plans to present the recommendations to the Town Council after Tuesday’s election.



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