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City pushing for second RR post office

Cleveland and Rio Rancho high school football teams members and coaches listen as Mayor Gregg Hull reads a certificate of recognition for both teams playing in the state championship game, which Cleveland won. Photo by Argen Marie Duncan.

RIO RANCHO, N.M. — The Rio Rancho Governing Body is asking for a second full-service post office in the City of Vision.

During their meeting Wednesday night at City Hall, governing body members unanimously approved a resolution asking the U.S. Postal Service and federal representatives to provide an update on when and how postal services would be improved and expanded in Rio Rancho, including the second post office. City Councilors Bob Tyler and Marlene Feuer were absent.

“This issue has kind of crescendoed the past couple of months, but it actually started 3½ years ago, when I took office,” said Councilor David Bency, who sponsored the resolution.

He said constituents called him because thieves were breaking into cluster mailboxes and USPS told them the boxes needed to be replaced.

“The bottom line is, we had to scream to high heaven to get them to start replacing those boxes,” Bency said.

He also said USPS allowed brush to grow up around cluster mailboxes, leaving people worried someone would hide there and rob them, until city officials fought for cleanup. Plus, he said residents of a Lomas Encantadas neighborhood were told they’d have to pick up all their mail at the post office for six months before they could get a cluster mailbox.

Bency said the fault wasn’t with local USPS employees, who have no authority and are overworked.

According to the resolution, Santa Fe, with a population of 84,000, has four post offices, and Roswell, home to 47,600 people, has three. Rio Rancho has one full-service post office despite having a population of 98,000, according to 2018 U.S. Census Bureau estimates.

Rio Rancho has several contract USPS retail locations operated by private businesses, but those locations can’t provide certain services, such as delivery or mail and package pickup.

Ken Fajardo, president of the American Postal Workers Union Albuquerque Local, wrote a letter and spoke at the meeting. He said he’s lived in Rio Rancho since 1998.

“Everything has grown exponentially with the exception of the post office,” he said in the letter. “For too long, the good people of Rio Rancho have had to endure longer and longer wait in lines because the post office refuses to expend the resources to provide universal service.”

He said USPS claimed there was no money for a new post office, but if state or local governments and businesses built the post office, USPS would only to have staff it.

Councilor Jim Owen said the problem existed because the federal government stopped subsidizing postal service, which he said was meant to be a right of American citizens. He supported the resolution but said it would take more to get a second post office.

Rio Rancho resident Patricia Brueckner said there were long lines at the Rio Rancho post office and the clerks didn’t have room to work efficiently. Population growth and more mail due to online shopping will make the situation worse, she said.

“This is an urgent situation,” Brueckner said.

Via the resolution, the governing body directed City Manager David Campbell to give copies of the document to USPS officials and Rio Rancho’s Congressional representatives.

In other business, the governing body:

• Postponed a decision on a resolution that would require city staff members to inform governing body members of any proposed new or increased municipal fees before bringing the issue before an advisory board;

• Recognized the Cleveland and Rio Rancho high school football teams for taking first and second place, respectively, in the state championship game; and

• Approved a site plan for an assisted living facility at 1760 Rincon Road, near the intersection of Westside and Unser boulevards.

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