Postal Service to clarify rules for post office box fees and delivery
SUMMIT COUNTY – U.S. Postal Service officials will spend the upcoming week clarifying their rules on who is entitled to a free post office box at Summit County’s four post offices.
“Our goal is to provide everybody with some form of free mail delivery,” said Sheryl Wilson, post office operations manager for Area 3, which includes Summit County. “But it (the policy) can get confusing.”
People who live in an area where the agency provides service – either to a box at the end of a road or driveway – are not entitled to a free post office box. If post office officials offer to provide delivery to an area, say, a town, and the town declines the offer – as the post office says Dillon did in the mid-1990s – its residents aren’t entitled to free post office boxes.
Sometimes, a developer in a new subdivision requests a box for residents, and if it’s located along an existing route, the postal agency will consider expanding that roadside service.
But the cost of installation and maintenance then falls to the neighbors or the town – an element that has deterred some from requesting the boxes.
Currently, highway delivery service is available to many residents outside town limits, including Summit Cove, Airport Road, parts of Blue River and Keystone and parts of the stretch between Silverthorne and Kremmling. Because residents petitioned for it, the postal service maintains highway contract routes to these areas. And because service is available to people along that route, those who ask for a free post office box in town will likely be denied, Wilson said.
Although the policy is supposed to be the same from post office to post office, it gets confusing for customers, especially when they hear that a neighbor doesn’t have to pay for his or her post office box rent.
So Wilson has asked local postmasters to provide maps outlining existing highway delivery routes. That will enable her to better evaluate whether service can be extended to new customers in the future – and help postmasters determine who qualifies for a no-fee box.
“It depends on the line of travel,” Wilson said of the agency’s criteria in deciding whether to expand service. “If people say, “I’m not putting a box on the highway,’ and we’ve offered the opportunity for delivery to that box, then they don’t qualify for a no-fee box.”
To qualify for delivery, homes must be addressed as they are under the 9-1-1 emergency system, addresses must be clearly posted and delivery drivers must have daily access to the boxes.
Jane Stebbins can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 228, or
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