Elizabeth mail issue remains unresolved

Town leaders say residents are subject to inconsistent treatment

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The Elizabeth Board of Trustees held a meeting on July 26 at Town Hall to discuss issues relating to the delivery of mail to residents. Several people have posed concerns regarding inconsistent treatment of Elizabeth residents, arguing that the Elizabeth Post Office is refusing to deliver mail to certain locations. Though representatives from the United States Postal Service were meant to be in attendance, no representatives showed up to the event to field questions.
 
According to a statement by Elizabeth Town Clerk Michelle Oeser, the town has been working to receive residential delivery of U.S. mail for many years.
 
A town news release says: “Most of Elizabeth’s citizens and businesses have been required to obtain post office boxes for mail delivery. Residents and businesses have been required to pay for those boxes to receive their mail, and those costs have increased drastically over time. However, this is not the case in all communities in Colorado. For some towns they are provided their individual post office boxes without any cost.
 
“Most recently, the town installed cluster mailboxes on the corner of County Road 136 and Pine Ridge Road. This work had been done in coordination with the United States Postal Service, with the intention of having mail delivery at that location. The Post Office is now refusing to deliver mail to this location. In the meantime, citizens in other areas around town receive mail service at neighborhood cluster mailboxes. Representatives of the Town of Elizabeth have been trying for months to address these concerns with the local, state, and regional representatives of the Postal Service. There has been no action on the part of the Postal Service.”
 
Unfortunately, no resolutions were made at the time of the meeting. According to Nannette Byrne-Haupt, constituent advocate with Sen. John Hickenlooper’s office, the towns of Elizabeth, Buena Vista and Crested Butte all have similar issues that are still in active review and one decision may impact multiple towns.
 
“The Postal Service is reviewing the universal delivery inquiry,” said Byrne-Haupt. “The inquiry is with the USPS HQ Government Relations and the legal team and will be decided upon shortly. We apologize for the delay in response as we work on a decision.”
 
In a phone interview with Town Administrator Patrick Davidson on July 27, he expressed his frustrations with the mail delivery and lack of resolution.
 
“I’ve contacted the post office multiple times throughout my time as administrator and we haven’t been able to get any resolution. We were hoping to bring it to a resolution last night,” said Davidson. “Tax dollars went toward to cluster box project, which is an appropriate use. However, the taxpayers aren’t getting any use out of it.”
 
He also stressed that the cluster boxes are helpful to the community and to the post office, underscoring his confusion as to why the Postal Service will not deliver to them.
 
“Cluster boxes are helpful and resolve issues like street maintenance and make mail delivery easier for the postmen,” said Davidson. “The area surrounding the boxes is built beyond USPS specifications. We’ve made them very accessible to people with physical disabilities and we’ve made the space large enough for snow removal. Overall, the space makes it easier for post office delivery.”
 
Some residents are frustrated and feel that the issue lies in preparation and communication between the Town of Elizabeth administration and USPS, arguing that there should have been more coordination between the two parties prior to the paving boxes being installed.
 
In response to this argument, a statement was made from the Town of Elizabeth on their official Facebook page saying the following:
 
“The discussion of mail delivery at the cluster boxes occurred over some time in preparation for the paving projects. The dialog regarding cluster boxes started in 2017 and continued through 2019, and included Postmaster Nicholas Games, Postmaster Al Hagerman, and other postal employees. Through these discussions, the Postal Service provided the town information regarding mailbox repair and maintenance, installation guidelines, and examples of commercial cluster boxes units on pedestals, as installed.”
 
In an email correspondence with Mayor Megan Vasquez, she gave a comment regarding the situation.
 
“The town staff and Board of Trustees are working diligently both on the state and federal level to get answers for the citizens of Elizabeth,” said Vasquez. “We will continue to work to find a resolution to meet the growing concerns and needs of the community.”
 
The Elbert County News attempted to reach the United States Postal Service for comment but received no response.
Elizabeth, Postal Service, mail delivery, Elbert County, Colorado

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