Local entities try to figure out post office conundrum

Letter to Bennet and Hickenlooper in the works

[ By Kendra Walker and Mark Reaman ]

The Crested Butte town council and staff continue to look into the ongoing concerns surrounding the Crested Butte Post Office, including the location, increasing congestion, tie-in with online retailers like Amazon and lack of communication from local and regional USPS representatives. The town of Crested Butte has written a letter to U.S. Senators Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper asking for help and has brought in Gunnison County and Mt. Crested Butte to sign the letter as well. The hope is to get the letter sent off next week once all the signatures are in place.

The Mt. Crested Butte council reviewed the letter during their February 16 meeting; however, asked for some “factual” revisions that were then approved during their March 2 meeting.

Council member Michael Bacani, whose wife has worked part-time at the Crested Butte Post Office since 2019, shared information with the council he said was known among the PO staff about the PO’s history. However, he could not confirm if that information was documented anywhere or in written form, and later confirmed the same thing in a follow-up with the News.

The letter states that, “USPS does not allow for households to have access to a free post office box despite not providing home delivery in the area. This service is inconsistent across mountain communities.” Bacani shared that through his inside knowledge, at some unknown point in time the PO offered home delivery to the town but the town opted out, which is why there are fees for boxes. Mayor Janet Farmer said that in working with Crested Butte mayor Jim Schmidt and town manager Dara MacDonald on revisions, their response is that it doesn’t really matter why it’s happened, it’s that it did happen and there is inconsistency across other similar mountain communities. The need and desire for a more efficient post office is still the focal message.

Bacani also shared that while the letter stated that people have recently had to wait more than a month for a PO box to become available, there is actually no current waitlist and boxes are freeing up every two weeks. The language was updated to more broadly state that community members are routinely told there are no available post office boxes and must utilize general delivery until a box opens up. “We would like to ensure a sufficient number of boxes are available to serve the community,” states the updated letter.

Bacani also said the CB South POA has an agreement with the PO to supply one box per house, but has not lived up to that agreement as the majority of CB South homeowners are still coming into town to get their mail.

Mt. CB assistant town manager Carlos Velado shared with the News that he did reach out to the CB South POA, and learned that they currently have 208 mailboxes and the postmaster recently approved an expansion request for another 58 boxes. “According to their website they have 691 platted residential lots. Of those lots, 417 are developed,” said Velado. That doesn’t include 21 developed commercial lots, which often have separate PO boxes as well. “We did not discuss the agreement. We only discussed the number of boxes that they have,” he said.

Once Crested Butte has Farmer’s and county commissioner Jonathan Houck’s signature, the hope is to send the letter off next week.

Meanwhile, the owner of the current post office building told MacDonald he is open to discussions about long-term alternatives for other locations.

Check Also

Met Rec debating recreation tax proposal for North Valley

How much? For who? Would it even pass in this economic climate? [  By Mark …