County sets parameters for mailbox claims

Friday, December 5, 2014

As sure as more snow is headed our way this winter, snowplows will again be clearing our roads, providing safe passage on city, county and state roads.

And while plow operators take care not to damage the mailboxes that stand next to the road, such accidents are bound to happen.

On Friday, the Putnam County Commissioners approved a new ordinance establishing when the county will and will not pay for mailboxes in the public right-of-way that are damaged by the operations of the Putnam County Highway Department.

The county is responsible for replacing a mailbox when it is physically struck by a Putnam County owned and operated maintenance truck or snow plow or by equipment owned by a subcontractor of the county.

The county is not held responsible if a) the mailbox is located less than three feet from the edge of the pavement to the face of the mailbox; b) the mailbox is damaged as a result of objects, snow, sleet, ice, water or other precipitation thrown by a plow; c) the mailbox is found to have been in unsound condition before the incident; and d) the mailbox is damaged by a person who is not acting under direction or at the request of Putnam County.

If a damaged mailbox meets these criteria, the owner must report the damage to the Putnam County Highway Department within 30 days, at which point the claim will be investigated.

If the claim is approved, a replacement cost of $65 will be allocated to the owner within 30 days of the damage report.

If it is denied, appeals will be heard by the Putnam County Commissioners.

The highway department was was on the agenda for several other issues on Friday.

The commissioners opened and accepted all 2015 county highway annual bids.

Additionally, Supervisor Mike Ricketts reported his department will be replacing a pipe on the Bainbridge-Roachdale Road (250 East) between county roads 1100 and 1200 North. They will begin work around 9 a.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 11, with the road likely to remain closed two days.

Ricketts also discussed the possibility of the county leasing space on the Crop Production Services site in Roachdale.

The location, which is owned by CSX, would give the county access to the railroad. This could potentially allow for rail delivery of salt, sand and stone. It would also give the county plenty of storage for these materials.

Ricketts added that it could also serve as a sort of base of operation for the northern Putnam County trucks during a snowstorm, allowing those drivers to save time and resources that are wasted with return trips to the highway garage southwest of Greencastle.

The commissioners and Ricketts agreed that an appraisal would have to be performed on the building, but that such a plan could prove beneficial to the county.

In other business:

* The commissioners made a number of appointments to board for the coming year: Lora Scott to the Board of Zoning Appeals (4 years); Jerry Ensor, Roy Haddon, Tom Helmer, Todd Shedron and David Nelson to Emergecny 911 (annual); Richard Lyon and Sheila Morrison to the cemetery board (3 years); Joe Ferguson to the Alcoholic Beverage Commission (annual); Rex Eaton to the Aviation Board (4 years); David Parent to the Walnut Creek Fire Board (3 years) and Walnut Creek Fire Protection District (4 years); Nancy Wells to the Planning Commission (4 years); Dennis O'Hair to the Hospital Board (4 years); Bryan Allen to West Central Solid Waste (2 years); and Dr. Warren Macy to the Health Board (2 years).

* Following a presentation from Terry Jones of West Central Indiana Economic Development, the commissioners again agreed for the county to partner on the EPA Brownfield Coalition grant.

The Putnam County Commissioners next meet at 6 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 15.

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