Fate of Windsor post office up for discussion

Published 9:12 am Saturday, March 5, 2011

WINDSOR— The Windsor Town Council during its 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 8, meeting is expected to discuss extending its lease for the post office.

The U.S. Postal Service has offered to continue paying $1,500 a month, or $18,000 annually, to operate from the building at 4 E. Windsor Blvd., which is owned by the town. Town officials are holding out for more money.

If a lease agreement is not reached, the Postal Service will look at alternate places for its 10 mail carriers and retail clerks, possibly at a neighboring post office, said Fran Sansone, spokesperson for the Postal Service in Hampton Roads. Delivery will continue to the 2,485 businesses and residences. Operating the 450 retail and post office box in Windsor would be suspended, Sansone said.

Discussions to extend the lease, which expires on May 26, began more than a year ago, said Town Manager Michael Stallings.

“We set up a subcommittee to deal with the lease, came up with concerns and sent the list to the Postal Service,” Stallings said.

The Postal Service replied with an offer to pay the Town $2,700 a month, he said. Town officials signed the lease. The Postal Service later rescinded its offer and agreed to pay the current $1,500 a month, Stallings said.

“We would like to have them remain, but we feel the lease on the building is not a fair market value for the building,” he said. “The rule of thumb, I’ve been told, is 10 percent of the value of the building.”

The Town purchased the building for $240,000 in 2004 or 2005 and is interested in getting $24,000 a year, Stallings said.

“We’re willing to negotiate,” he said. “We want to keep the Postal Service here, but we also have duty to taxpayers to get a reasonable return (on our investment).”

The Windsor facility is adequate for current operations and the Postal Service would like to remain there, Sansone said.

“Due to our current financial situation, the Postal Service is mandated to sustain operations in present space if at all possible,” she said. “Funding for alternate quarters is considered in situations in which we are forced to vacate the current facility, but alternate funding is not guaranteed.”

Stallings expects Council to discuss the matter behind closes doors, since state law allows that when discussing real estate matters. Council meets at Town Hall.