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Maine Alliance for Road Associations

Service Fee for USPS mailings

  • 09 Jun 2022 9:04 AM
    Message # 12810983

    I know that if you reach agreement with members that you can use email as a method for sending announcements and bills to members rather than USPS.

    If you have some members that do not agree and require USPS mail can you charge them a fee for the extra expense? or the other way, give a discount to members that allow email to be used

    Thanks

    Last modified: 10 Jun 2022 9:14 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
  • 10 Jun 2022 6:50 AM
    Reply # 12812059 on 12810983
    Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Maine Private Ways Statute, 23 M. R. S. §§ 3101 - 3104, specifies sending "notices and other materials" by means of the United States Postal Service in §3101(2) to "owners of all the parcels benefited by the private road, ...". Postal fees may therefore be included in the assessment of owners for costs of road maintenance and, when delinquent, are rendered collectable from owners under §3104, Penalties and process. 

    I am not an attorney but ...

    With regard to mailing costs and according to the Statute, since §3101(2) specifically requires sending by USPS and §3101(3) allows owners to decline receiving email correspondence, it would seem unacceptable to charge extra to owners who decline or discount those who accept.  

    Last modified: 14 Jun 2022 5:51 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
  • 10 Jun 2022 10:09 AM
    Reply # 12812262 on 12810983
    Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Hmmm - This isn't a question I've ever thought about before.  It seems the easy answer would be to calculate the total cost of mailings per year and add that to the budget so that when you calculate the share of total costs each member owes, that would be part of it.  I suppose someone could argue that that's not fair because it means those who allow correspondence by email are paying for the USPS service they do not use.  But they are likely already paying for maintenance of parts of the road they do not use.  It's similar to the argument that everyone's property taxes pay for schools, whether or not they have school aged children, because it's in everyone's interest to have an educated public.  Similarly, it's in the interest of everyone in the road association to see that all members get notice of meetings, dues owed, etc.  It's not as if a member would have to pay for USPS delivery which they do not use and then also provide an alternate delivery service at their own expense - unless the only reason they have email service is so they can get their road association notices, which is unlikely.

  • 11 Jun 2022 11:11 AM
    Reply # 12813257 on 12810983
    Anonymous member (Administrator)

    I support Roberta's thoughts on sharing costs. Although a majority vote of the owners requiring those who refuse email notification to pay the cost of USPS might hold up in court, I still believe this outcome could be challenged based on the requirements of the Statute noted in Reply #12812059 above.

    We do charge individual owners mailing costs for all notifications involving their delinquent accounts. Mailing costs are "small potatoes" within the annual budget. It seems fair to me to have all owners support the basic provisions of the Statute and share costs for routine matters.    

    Last modified: 11 Jun 2022 11:38 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

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