Stassen: Most damage caused by the force of snow being moved and not actual plow contact

    Are you a Crookston resident with a mailbox that has been damaged by City snow removal equipment directly, or by snow being moved by City snow removal equipment?

    If you are, you’re apparently not alone. Some mailboxes have been damaged in the community, so the Times reached out to City Administrator Shannon Stassen to see if the owners of the damaged mailboxes have any recourse.

    In a nutshell, he explained, the City handles each instance involving a damaged mailbox on a case-by-case basis.

    When the City is made aware of a damaged mailbox, an inspection and assessment are conducted as soon as possible, he said. If it’s determined that the mailbox has been struck directly by a snowplow, City crews will repair it, Stassen continued. That type of damage is rare, he added, noting that to his knowledge that has not occurred this winter, even with all of the snow that has fallen.

    “The most likely situation is for the mailbox to be damaged by the force of snow being moved past it,” Stassen said. “Many mailboxes are designed to release at the post and can be put back in place. In these instances, our staff will reinstall the top of the mailbox if they are able to.”

    The City is not liable for damage inflicted on a mailbox by the force of snow being pushed, he said. “However, we do our best to assist where possible,” Stassen added.

    Residents who’ve had a mailbox damaged in connection with City snow-plowing efforts should contact Public Works Director Pat Kelly at city hall, 281-1232, Stassen said.

    The Polk County Highway Department earlier this week notified residents living along county roads that the county is not liable for mailboxes damaged as part of county snow-plowing efforts. The county recommended that residents along county roads purchase swing-away mailboxes, and offered tips on how to properly install them so they have the best chance to avoid damage by snow removal efforts.