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Q: I just got the bill for my mail box rental. Last year it was $100. This year it's $136. I'm just wondering how expenses could go up 36 percent for putting my mail in my box?

A: Box rental rates, like the price of postage, are set by the Postal Rate Commission, a body that is independent from the U.S. Postal Service, according to local box clerk Kathy McManus.

"They justify a rate increase on the cost of actually putting the mail in the box," McManus said. "While a lot of other processes have become automated, people still have to walk behind the boxes and physically put the mail in."

Rates vary and are based, in part, on the size of the post office.

"If you lived in New York City, you'd pay even more than you do here," McManus said.

One year the commission actually lowered box rental rates, but usually they stay the same or go up. Boxes are free in communities like Pine and Tonto Basin where the local post office does not offer free home delivery.

Q: Why does the town street sweeper have to sweep during rush hour? We almost had a pileup on the Beeline one recent morning. Why don't they do it between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.?

A: "We do sweep Highway 87 periodically," Public Works Engineer LaRon Garrett said. "If something is spilled on the road, we try to get in there as quickly as we can and get it out regardless of the time. As far as routine sweeping, it hasn't been an issue, but we'll keep an eye on it and make sure we avoid those times. We'll either sweep early in the morning (they go to work at 6 a.m.) or sweep at off times."

Call 474-5251, ext. 147, to reach Roundup's What's Up? line. Leave your question on the answering machine and we'll try to find the answer.

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