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Posted on April 4, 2016 at 9:46 AM by PattiAnn Schultz
For years the Town of Webster Highway Department has replaced mailboxes that have fallen down during winter storms because of heavy snow or knocked down by our plow trucks. However, lately some residents have become agitated because they feel the value of their mailbox is more than the $25.00 allowed by the town for a replacement mailbox and post. This has led to some very nasty voicemails on the Highway Department’s phone, some not so nice emails from residents, and some very candid phone calls in the Supervisor’s office about expenses.
First, contrary to some resident’s beliefs, the Highway Department truck drivers do not have a contest going about who can knock down the most mailboxes in a snow season. Each of the drivers takes pride in plowing and staying on the road as they plow our roads and subdivision.
The snow storm that we experienced around Valentine’s Day was a snow that was extremely heavy and wet. When plowing and going by mailboxes that have posts which were not completely solid into the ground, these mailboxes fell as the mailbox post were not strong enough to withstand the force of the snow coming off the wing of the truck. In other cases yes, we hit your mailbox on our travels through your subdivision, knocked it down, and we will replace it.
The other problem the town is experiencing is that some residents have spent a lot of money on mailboxes to upgrade the look of their property. This is not a problem in the warmer months, but in the winter time you may want to replace your fancy mailbox with an old beater mailbox that will make in through our lake effect snow season.
In the past few years we have paid out approximately $10,000 each year to replace around 400 mailboxes and posts. Keep in mind that there are 14,000 parcels that we plow past in our plowing efforts, in one pass, each time the trucks go out. We have 25 trucks that this year alone have traveled over 77,000 miles from December to the end of March. This is taxpayer dollars being spent and Webster is one of the last towns in Monroe County that has a replacement policy. It is not the town’s responsibility to replace $250-$500 mailboxes.
Another concern I would like to present to the community is that every year the Highway Department puts out colored stakes (or whips as they call them) to mark the way for our highway trucks to see during night time hours and delineate landmarks along the roadside. Every year we put these out on roads and circles around town and label each one with the address of the residence that the whip stands in front of. Recently, when our highway personnel went back to collect them to store for next season, over 2,000 of them have disappeared. This again is taxpayer dollars that has disappeared and will have to be replaced next year. Please, I know many residents do not know that the Highway Department reuses theses each year, so if you inadvertently took some from the roadside, you can return them to the Highway Department with no questions asked. In fact last year we found over 50 whips at one resident’s home holding up his tomato plants! When we advised him of they are reused, he kindly gave them back to our highway department.
Please remember that these costs are your tax dollars at work and it is my job to make you aware of what is happening in our community. The Town Board strives to control all costs on every level. If residents are not aware of the problem(s) they will never be resolved.
If you have any questions about your town government, please feel free to contact me during regular business hours at (585) 872-7068; or email me anytime at email@example.com
Ronald W. Nesbitt