No decision made on future of Windsor post office

Published 3:56 pm Wednesday, March 9, 2011

WINDSOR—Several Windsor residents pleaded with the Town Council Tuesday to “do all in their power” to keep the post office in town.

Council went on to discuss the matter behind closed doors, but made no decision. Town Manager Michael Stallings said he hopes the issue will be settled within a few days.

The lease for the post office at 4 E. Windsor Blvd. will be up on May 26. The U.S. Postal Service and Town Council have not agreed on a new lease price.

The Postal Service currently pays $1,500 per month, but town officials feels it must raise the rent to cover expenses.

Postmaster Steve Trent said the Postal Service expected to pay the same amount as the current lease and had no plans to leave.

“We will have trouble obtaining the funding for an increase in the rent, and there is a possibility we will not be able to stay,” Trent said. “How many businesses would want to locate here if there wasn’t a post office?”

Retired Windsor mail carrier Marion Neighbours reminded Council that once the post office is gone, the town will no longer have a postmark.

“It’ll be Suffolk, or Smithfield, or some other town,” Neighbours said. “I urge you to sit down with the Postal Service and negotiate some kind of settlement. Don’t shoot yourself in the foot; don’t let this post office go.”

Hal Watson also urged Council to negotiate to keep the post office in town.

Watson said if the postal service left, the town would lose its identity.

“Please don’t let money stand in the way,” he said.

In discussing the matter later, Mayor Carita Richardson responded to residents’ comments.

“First I would like to say, the Town of Windsor realizes the importance of the post office here,” Richardson said. “We have never wanted to close it and will do everything in our power to keep it. There is a lot of misinformation out there, however. Our residents don’t know the extent of this issue.”

She noted that town officials have been trying for two years to talk to the Postal Service.

“We’ve asked them to send representatives down to talk with us, so we could express our needs and theirs, but they won’t do it,” Richardson said. “When we do get in touch with one of them, we’re told that this person doesn’t have the authority to make a decision.”

“We’ve even sent contracts to them to read and hopefully approve,” she continued. “ They won’t send them back. We are not trying to make money for the town when we increase the cost of the lease. We are trying to prepare for the upkeep of the building.”

The roughly 50-year-old building will need repairs certainly within the next five years, Richardson said. It will need a new roof and heating and air condition system, more insulation and repairs to the windows as a start.

“If we don’t have the finances when this time comes, we more than likely will have to raise taxes,” she said. “We don’t want to do this, and I’m sure our residents will not like it either.”

There’s also a safety issue.

“The building is situated at a five-way intersection, where traffic is heavy,” she said. “We want to talk to the Postal Service about the matter and hopefully improve it.”