With hundreds of mailboxes slanting throughout town, many to a dangerous degree, the town of Little Elm is offering to reimburse residents for up to half the repair cost.
In an effort to straighten up the town's mailboxes, Little Elm is offering to help residents pay for repairs.
Residents can apply on the town's website. If selected, they can get up to half of the work reimbursed, with a limit of $400.
Town Manager Matt Mueller said Little Elm has set aside enough to fix at least 25 of the mailboxes that are in the worst shape. The town is prioritizing applicants with mailboxes that are more than five degrees off level.
Applicants are also required to work with a contractor registered through the town, and the work must be inspected before the reimbursement.
"It just helps sustain our neighborhoods and keep our neighborhoods to where they're very nice and up kept," Mueller said.
Leaning mailboxes are one of the town's few eyesores, he said.
Mueller said he is not sure why Little Elm is so plagued by slanting mailboxes but is sure the environment has a lot to do with it.
"You know, the way the soils are around here, sometimes we have some problems with shifting," he said.
Some residents say they are concerned about town money being spent on private-property issues, but town leaders say there is a definite public interest in fixing the mailbox issue.
"The program's intent includes the aesthetic aspect of the leaning mailboxes, as well as the safety issues posed by an unbalanced object that can weigh several hundred pounds," Public Works Director Kevin Mattingly said. "In addition, the pressure of a leaning mailbox on sidewalks, underground water lines, irrigation pipes and other infrastructure can be enough to cause serious damage."
"It is potentially a street maintenance issue," said Mueller, who says that many of the mailboxes lean dangerously close to the right-of-way.
Residents say they have noticed the problem and say it needs to be fixed.
"There's a couple down the street here that are drifting about 45 degrees, I think," Fritz Torrey joked.
He said the reimbursements are worth the town's investment.
"They're not going to get any better," he said. "Let's get them now before they get to the point where they're going to have to be rebuilt completely."
Little Elm had received six applications as of Tuesday morning, approving five.
Any applicants who meet the qualifications but don't fit into this year's budget will be considered again next year.