Federal officials are considering closing the Tecopa Post Office while residents in that community fight to keep it.
The U.S. Postal Service has posted a notice to customers in Tecopa that it is proposing to close the local office and consolidate operations with Baker 50 miles away.
“We’re studying it right now, looking at the advantages, disadvantages and savings, so it is important for customers there to speak up,” U.S. Postal Service spokesperson Eva Jackson said.
A meeting will be held from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Thursday at the Tecopa Community Center, 405 Tecopa Hot Springs Rd. to discuss the proposal with residents.
The merger is being proposed to help reduce costs to the U.S. Postal Service. The Tecopa office is a leased building. By consolidating with Baker, the Postal Service will be able to abandon its lease.
Jackson said there would still be daily mail deliveries, but, if the post office is consolidated with Baker, residents may lose their Post Office Boxes. If that happens, she said there are other options, such as having residents erect mail boxes or finding a new location for P.O. boxes.
Tecopa Postmaster Jennifer Galer said residents may still be able to have
post office boxes, but could not speak further on the matter.
Some residents in Tecopa say consolidating their post office with one nearly 50 miles away will not meet their needs.
According to Tecopa resident Larry Levy, even if Post Office officials opt to consolidate, residents would not be able to mail packages to friends or relatives without traveling to Baker.
“The Baker Post Office is a 100-mile round trip,” Levy said. “This is unacceptable for our elderly and already impoverished population.”
Levy also said that, in addition to the travel time, Tecopa would lose services if the post office is consolidated with Baker.
“We do not feel we will be getting the maximum service the Postal Reorganization Act calls for with this type of service,” Levy said in a Letter to the Editor. Inconvenience in purchasing stamps and money orders, and in sending accountable mail, such as certified letters, are among the problems we foresee. The same holds true for the receipt of accountable mail.”
If the consolidation is approved and a rural delivery route carrier attempts to deliver certified mail to a Tecopa resident who is not home, a pick-up notice will be left for the resident, who will then be forced to travel to Baker to pick up his or her mail.
“We protest the loss of our postmaster and community identity,” Levy said. “With our own postmaster, we have someone to hear our problems and take our complaints and compliments, rather than our being referred to an individual at the Baker Post Office.”
The meeting on Thursday is open to the public and all Tecopa residents are encouraged to attend to hear the latest news on the proposal and share their concerns.