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Is Oak Creek Paying Too Much For Snow Plow-Damaged Mailboxes?

Some Oak Creek officials feel city goes too far out of its way to detriment of Street Department.

How many mailboxes were hit by Oak Creek snow plows last year?

If you guessed 122, you are correct! (And you're also probably the person who is writing this story.)

The city reimburses residents up to $200. The money spent on mailbox replacement last winter - just materials - was between $3,200 to $4,000.

A drop in the bucket of a $22 million budget.

But Street Superintendent Mike Lampe says it's not just the money involved that concerns him - it's also the time and effort put in by workers to personally replace the mailboxes when they could be focused on other things.

Other communities don't do nearly that much, Mayor Dick Bolender said. They may write a check to cover some of the cost, but leave most of it up to the homeowner.

And with new subdivisions going in, the cost of a mailbox itself is skyrocketing. Lampe said there are mailboxes in multiple Oak Creek subdivisions that can cost up to $1,000 (editor's note: !!!) in order to meet the developer's requirements.

"I don't know about you, but I've never seen a thousand-dollar mailbox in my life," Bolender said last week.

"I don't even want to see one."

So as winter approaches, the city is considering changing its $200 policy. Possibly making it a little less, and maybe putting less of a burden on city of Oak Creek staff. It could just be writing a check to the homeowner and leaving it at that.

"To pay $200, $300, $400 for a mailbox in the state of Wisconsin, where you know that the mailbox has to be near the street and it's going to be hit by snow, and now the city is expected to pay for a new mailbox, doesn't seem quite right to me," Alderman Tom Michalski said.

"Granted, if a snow plow runs over four or five mailboxes, or even one, I think that's a little bit different. People should be having a useful, sturdy mailbox that will take the beatings of a Wisconsin winter and the beating of a snow plow coming through and cleaning up the street."

Oak Creek city officials said they will present the Common Council with a revised policy at a later date.

BassGreat November 10, 2011 at 04:52 PM
Easy solution - Quit hitting the mailboxes. You do have humans with eyes driving those plows?
Patriot November 10, 2011 at 08:20 PM
Well Im sorry if your plow driver destroys my mail box then the city should be liable for the repair not the homeowner!!! Come on lets take some responsibility here Mr. Bolender!!! What upsets me even more, is when I am out cleaning out my driveway and the plow comes by and see's me clearing the approach to my drive yet angles his blade to only put 3' or more of snow right back on my approach. How about maybe move the blade to more of a straight position and have some courtesy? Yet the same plow driver will come down the street going the other direction and will take the time not cover the guys drive across the street!!! So ya your boys take out my mail box the city of Oak Creek can pay to repair it!!
Resident of O.C. Paul November 11, 2011 at 02:15 PM
Plow drivers have no consideration for anyone or anything. Well sad to say that if someone damages someone Else's property they are LIABLE for the damage, and must make good on it or face being taken to court over it, and a city is NOT exempt from this. If they damage something they are responsible for repairing or replacing it. Just because government makes the laws does not mean they are above them.
Resident of O.C. Paul November 11, 2011 at 02:20 PM
I would also check on federal laws concerning the damage of mail boxes and potentially the contents inside, because there might be Federal offenses the city could be subject to.
Jenny DB November 18, 2011 at 01:18 AM
Get a sturdy 12-gauge steel locking mailbox from Ace Hardware - they weigh 40 lbs and they are pretty resilient to snow plows plus they'll keep you safe from mail-identity theft. Here's a video one guy made after his survived a run in with a TRAILER! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7VX9PFu35QY
Margaret Coonan December 13, 2011 at 04:14 AM
Oak Creek used to have the best snow plow driver ever!! Always helped you with your driveway if needed, and put the blade at the correct angle.Did he retire or what?

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