City of Santa Fe officials are appealing a decision by the U.S. Postal Service to relocate the downtown post office.
In a letter to Postal Service officials, Santa Fe Mayor David Coss wrote that he was led to believe, from Postal Service officials themselves, that they would seek community input through public meetings before proceeding with a move.
“I formally appeal what continues to appear to be a unilateral decision to relocate Santa Fe’s main post office — demonstrated by the lack of a public meeting held by the Postal Service to develop an understanding of our community’s short and long-term needs,” Coss wrote in a letter dated Thursday.
“As Mayor, I must respectfully reiterate that community input is essential prior to making such an important decision that directly affects the daily lives of our residents and business owners,” Coss wrote.
Post Service officials informed the city in July that the agency has identified Sanbusco Market Center on Montezuma Street as its preferred location for Santa Fe’s new main post office. A site at 100 N. Guadalupe St. that used to house a bank is the agency’s second choice.
“We believe either of these sites will provide the community with an upgraded, modern facility that offers a safe working environment for our employees and the level of service expected by our customers,” USPS real estate specialist Angela Kuhl said in a July 24 letter to Coss.
Kuhl also said the USPS had approached the Montoya building’s landlord — the federal government — about remaining in the main post office’s current space “under fair terms.” However, “reasonable rates could not be agreed to and alternate quarters must be pursued,” Kuhl said.
Postal Service officials first publicly said last fall that they were considering moving retail and mail carrier operations from the Joseph M. Montoya Federal Building to other locations. The agency promised that retail services would continue to be offered in the downtown Santa Fe area.
Postal Service officials said at the time that the move was part of consolidation efforts initiated by USPS in recent years to stem annual losses in the billions of dollars. The USPS experienced a $15.9 billion shortfall in the 2012 fiscal year, around $11.1 billion of that due to retirement benefit obligations. At the same time, it’s grappled with a 25 percent reduction in mail volume over the past five years.