Summit County tries to resolve post office issues to no avail
Local officials reached out to US Postal Service representatives only to be told that potential solutions are too costly
If you’ve gotten held up in long wait lines at the post office, haven’t been receiving your mail or packages, or have experienced other issues at Summit County’s four post office locations, then you’re not alone.
“I get more complaints about the U.S. Postal Service than anything else in Summit County, and it certainly seems like a perennial problem,” Summit County Commissioner Tamara Pogue said at a May 11 Summit Board of County Commissioners work session meeting.
Though residents have been experiencing issues for a while, Summit County Commissioner Josh Blanchard said the pandemic exacerbated the problem as more residents relied on mail carriers to deliver essential goods and connect with loved ones across the state and nation.
“This demand really exacerbated the challenges that we had and the service issues we had relating to (the U.S. Postal Service),” Blanchard said during a Facebook Live video Wednesday, June 2.
In February, county officials drafted and sent a letter to Selwyn Epperson, who is listed in the letter as the district manager for the U.S. Postal Service for Colorado and Wyoming.
In the letter, officials stated that “for years, Summit County residents and businesses have been resigned to the reality that we are one of only several dozen places in the country without communitywide, at-home mail delivery” and that this past year has brought to light inefficiencies with local services.
The county’s letter stated that officials were forced to “confront the truth that our community’s growth, the change in commerce, and the subsequent increased demand for mail services have put an unmanageable burden on Summit County’s four major post offices and have resulted in real hardship to our residents and businesses.”
Some of the challenges cited in the county’s letter include:
- Average wait times of 30 to 45 minutes and sometimes even one to two hours during holidays
- Not enough physical space to organize parcels at the four locations
- Delivery times of two to three weeks for mail to arrive in post office boxes
- Tracking alerts that don’t match the mail that arrives in boxes
- A discrepancy of at-home delivery for some residents and not for others
The letter stated that the county’s population of more than 31,000 residents relies on the four main locations in Dillon, Silverthorne, Frisco and Breckenridge.
The letter ends with a call for collaboration “to make the long-term and systemic changes in Summit County’s mail service.” The letter was signed by Blue River Manager Michelle Eddy, Breckenridge Manager Rick Holman, Dillon Manager Nathan Johnson, Frisco Manager Nancy Kerry, Silverthorne Manager Ryan Hyland and Summit County Manager Scott Vargo.
During his Facebook Live update, Blanchard said officials received a letter back from a different Postal Service representative named Donna Walker.
In the letter, Walker stated that the Postal Service does “not have the facilities, personnel or funding to expand deliveries in these towns. The rural, mountainous nature of the communities do not have the density requirements to sustain city delivery.”
Walker stated that measures like expanded delivery would “require extensive infrastructure” and would “require the procurement of expensive, new facilities at each of these locations to accommodate vehicles, sorting and delivery personnel.”
To meet the requests of the county and local towns, Walker said the Postal Service would need three to four times the personnel it currently has and that it already experiences “endless hiring difficulties” in the region.
Walker also noted that the Postal Service has a $9 billion deficit.
“Bottom line is that we do not have the funds to increase our capital expenditures,” she wrote.
Walker did state that the Postal Service will continue to fill current open positions and that it’ll educate customers about proper addressing. Walker also said it would evaluate the option of extending parcel locker placement in front of local post offices.
At the May 11 work session, Vargo brought up the board’s suggestion of offering resources to the post office, which the towns shot down.
“That was not something that was well-received, I’ll say, by the rest of the group in terms of the towns,” Vargo said at the meeting. “They don’t want to see us in some way supplementing funding or resources for federal operations and believe the feds need to do a better job themselves in the needs of constituents here locally.”
Vargo also noted that the county and local towns have had some issues reaching “an actual human being” and shared the contact information of David Rupert, who is listed on the Postal Service’s website as a manager for western area corporate communications. Vargo shared two numbers for Rupert and suggested commissioners share the information with residents who wish to advocate for the county. Those numbers are 303-313-5130 and 303-886-8773.
Vargo also noted that state elected officials are trying to work with Postal Service representatives in Washington, D.C., to get some of these issues resolved and that other neighboring mountain communities are experiencing similar issues.
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