Windsor post office negotiations continue

Published 10:15 pm Tuesday, March 8, 2011

By Gwen Albers

The Tidewater News

Windsor Town Council during its 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 8, meeting was expected to discuss extending its lease for the post office.

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Although officials with the U.S. Postal Service have indicated that they do not consider it likely that the town of Windsor will lose its post office in the coming round of closures, the USPS and the town are in the midst of negotiations over the future of the current postal location.

The USPS has offered to continue paying $1,500 a month, or $18,000 annually, to operate from the current building at 4 E. Windsor Blvd., which is owned by the Town. Town officials, though, have been holding out for more money.

The Town Council was set to discuss what to do about the lease during its meeting Tuesday night.

If a lease agreement is not reached, the postal service will look into alternate locations for its 10 mail carriers and retail clerks, possibly at a neighboring post office, said Fran Sansone, spokesperson for the postal service in Hampton Roads. Delivery would continue to the 2,485 businesses and residences. Operating the 450 retail and post office boxes in Windsor, however, would be suspended, Sansone said.

Discussions to extend the lease, which expires May 26, began more than a year ago, Town Manager Michael Stallings said.

“We set up a subcommittee to deal with the lease, came up with concerns and sent the list to the postal service,” Stallings said.

The postal service replied with an offer to pay the Town $2,700 a month, he said. Town officials signed the lease. But the postal service later rescinded its offer and agreed to pay the current $1,500 a month, Stallings said.

“We would like to have them remain, but we feel the lease on the building is not a fair market value for the building,” he said. “The rule of thumb, I’ve been told, is 10 percent of the value of the building.”

The town purchased the building for $240,000 and is interested in getting $24,000 a year in rent, Stallings said.

“We’re willing to negotiate,” he said. “We want to keep the postal service here, but we also have duty to taxpayers to get a reasonable return (on our investment).”

The Windsor facility is adequate for current operations, and the postal service would like to remain there, Sansone said.

“Due to our current financial situation, the postal service is mandated to sustain operations in present space if at all possible,” she said. “Funding for alternate quarters is considered in situations in which we are forced to vacate the current facility, but alternate funding is not guaranteed.”