Township board discusses mailboxes

This article submitted by Michael Jacobson on 1/17/01.

Setting a new policy for mailboxes damaged by snowplowing was discussed at the Paynesville Township board meeting on Monday, Jan. 8.

Board chairman Don Pietsch proposed having the township buy standard posts and replace damaged mailboxes in the spring and charging some of the costs back to the snowplowing contractor.

The township policy in the past is not entirely clear, but in recent years it has not paid for replacements.

The point in installing a standard post would be to ensure the mailbox was high enough for the wing of the snowplow to pass under, while the post was far enough away to not get hit.

Pietsch said he had gotten a couple phone calls complaining about damaged mailboxes.

Dale Klein, a partner in the snowplowing contract, said the only calls they have gotten on the subject were from people who want the plow to get closer to their mailbox. He assured the board that mailboxes weren't being damaged intentionally, but added that narrow roads made for tight quarters.

When meeting an oncoming vehicle, the plow sometimes is forced to move toward the shoulder to avoid hitting the vehicle. Mailboxes also can be damaged by slush or heavy snow.

Klein, who lives in the township, said he wouldn't oppose compensating homeowners for damage done by the blade. "I've had mine toppled a couple times, and it's no fun," he added.

Township resident Ed Lang said he used to have his mailbox hit once a year when he lived on Highway 55. "I guess people should expect that," he explained, "if they don't have their mailbox set up properly."

Pietsch intended to promote better mailbox placement using a standard design, not involving the township in elaborate ones preferred by some homeowners.

Mailboxes must abide by postal regulations.

The board tabled the discussion. Temporary fixes will need to be used for damaged mailboxes until spring, anyway, when the ground thaws.

Old Lake Road specifications
Pietsch told the board that Brian Mathiowetz, a township resident who owns a road building company, has agreed to do the specifications for widening Old Lake Road (formerly County Road 124). The plan is to widen the base to support a 36-foot surface, which would include two 11-foot driving lanes and five feet of shoulder on both sides.

It's possible that the proposed pedestrian trail to Lake Koronis might need to follow Old Lake Road at some points.

Mathiowetz's company would provide the specifications as a volunteer service. Brian's late father - Richard - was an early supporter of the trail.

Pietsch said Brian Mathiowetz understood that the township will need to bid the eventual project and that no preferential treatment could be given in the awarding of bids.

Lang and Cory Meagher, another township resident, objected that doing the specifications might give Mathiowetz an unfair advantage when it came time to bid.

Other business
•The township approved a variance request by Kelly and Kelley Mohr to build a storage building on their property between Koronis Park and Old Lake Road.

•The board authorized maintenance man Mike Jensen to buy tar to fill potholes on the township roads and to buy a tool box for the back of the township's pick-up.

•The board added 160th Street to its priority list for road maintenance in 2001.

•The board heard a trail update on the proposed pedestrian trail to Lake Koronis from Jeff Bertram. The board directed the trail committee to ask city hall about providing office space for a graduate student next summer.

•Bertram also told the board that West Central Sanitation now has 134 recycling customers in the township. The township has used $5,000 in SCORE funds to purchase containers and publicize the initiative. Enough money remains for a couple more mailings and some advertising.

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