Snowmass residents outraged with state of post office, town council to investigate issues
As more residents voice concern and frustration with the current state of affairs at the Snowmass post office, the town government and council is trying to figure out how to best tackle a communal problem that is outside its jurisdiction.
Mail and packages that are lost or missing for weeks or months a time, lines that can exceed a half hour and an overall shortage of staff, space and mailboxes top peoples’ issues with the Snowmass post office.
“I think we’re at a crisis point right now with the post office,” town councilman Tom Goode, a more-than-40-year resident of Snowmass, said in an interview Tuesday. “What can we do, as a council or as a community? I don’t know.”
While the subject has gained a lot of momentum over the past few weeks, Goode and other locals, including a former post office employee, say the problems started about five or six years ago.
The timing is no coincidence — the advent of Amazon and its partnering with the U.S. Postal Service in 2013 changed the game for post offices everywhere, including in Snowmass Village.
More recently, a number of full-time and part-time residents have penned letters to the editors, emailed members of Town Council and spoken publicly at town meetings.
“If the Town Council feels it’s really important to protect Snowmass’ reputation as a world-class resort community, then what I’d like to see them is engage with the U.S. Postal Service,” Peter Cavelti, a part-time Snowmass resident of nearly 30 years, said in an interview. He called the Snowmass post office “a horror story.”
The Snowmass post office looks about the same as it did when the Snowmass Center was developed in the early 1980s, as Goode pointed out.
“The building’s just too small now (and) the (employees) are just overloaded,” he said.
The Snowmass post office is 2,530 square feet and houses 1,738 P.O. boxes, according to Marcela Rivera, a U.S. Postal Service spokeswoman who is based in Denver and handles communication for post offices along the Western Slope.
To date, the Snowmass post office employs two clerk positions and is hiring for a custodian, Rivera said.
Asked about complaints at the Snowmass post office and how they stack up with other locations, Rivera wrote via email: “Consumer Affairs reported there are a handful of customers who repeatedly call. I don’t have any comparative figures to other offices, however.”
The number of people on the waitlist for a P.O. box at the Snowmass post office is “unknown,” said Rivera, a 24-year-employee of the U.S. Postal Service who has never been to the Snowmass office.
“The point is, we’ve outgrown it,” Tom Hills, a 30-year-full-time Snowmass resident, said. Hills pointed to the dangers of not receiving medication in a timely fashion; other locals noted late or lost bills or juror summons. Town Councilman Bill Madsen at a town work session Tuesday said he received a package last week that shipped Dec. 12.
Part two of the post office conversation is looking ahead to a major redevelopment and expansion of the Snowmass Center.
Jordan Sarick of the Eastwood Snowmass Investors group that owns the Snowmass Center said he would “happily” lease more space to the post office.
“We have endeavored to contact the post office on numerous occasions,” Sarick said in an interview Tuesday. “It’s frustrating for us as well.”
Sarick said that while “we get how important the post office is,” his team is limited in what it can do without direction from the U.S. Postal Service.
“The ball is very much in their court,” he said.
The town of Snowmass as of Tuesday had not yet set a date for a meeting to further discuss the post office issue.
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