Fate of Crossroads post offices to be discussed

Jessica Priest By Jessica Priest

June 19, 2014 at 1:19 a.m.
Updated June 20, 2014 at 1:20 a.m.

The U.S. Postal Service is asking at least 328 customers of the Telferner post office to weigh in on its future.

The agency wants to know whether its customers prefer that post office's retail window be open for six hours instead of eight on weekdays.

Other options include having a rural carrier or contracting with a nearby business that would sell stamps and flat rate products.

The Telferner post office will not close unless a majority of the Telferner community, or more than 60 percent, indicates on the survey that it'd like to see that happen.

The postal service has mailed Telferner residents a survey asking their preference in the post office services. They have until July 1 to return the survey.

"I'm not aware of any survey that came back with that result in Texas," said Sam Bolen, a U.S. Postal Service spokesman. "People are happier when they can keep their ZIP code, their post office, their community identity."

If the hours are reduced, customers will still be able to access their post office boxes at the office 24/7.

"The office workload in Telferner - that's what the determining factor is," he said. "Eighty percent of the cost of operating a post office is labor."

The Telferner post office has one employee: the postmaster.

"In some instances, the postmaster chooses to remain and work a reduced schedule or the postmaster may seek assignment to another Postal Service position for which they are qualified," Bolen said.

The plan cuts costs by operating about 13,000 post offices for less than eight hours a day, and residents who use post offices in Fannin, McFaddin, Lolita, Austwell, Bayside, Berclair, Meyersville, Vanderbilt and La Ward should be receiving similar surveys in the mail, too, Bolen said.

It was not clear Thursday what their proposed hours are, but the U.S. Postal Service is hosting meetings throughout July to go over the results.

Any Telferner post office customer who did not receive a survey can request one at the retail window.

The current Telferner post office, 319 Farm-to-Market Road 1686, was dedicated in 1992, but Henry Marroquin has had a P.O. Box in Telferner since 1970.

"I got my box here when I was 19 years old before I went away to Vietnam," the Army veteran said.

He initially sent home letters and souvenirs to his parents, but their P.O. Box was too small to hold them all, so he got his own, a larger one, and they had a key to access it.

Marroquin has a Victoria address but says this location is more convenient.

Although he has a mailbox at his house 4 miles away, it holds junk mail. In his P.O. Box, he gets important retirement paperwork from DuPont.

"If anything, they should just cut the hours. With a carrier, you're wasting gas and paying for someone's mileage," Marroquin said. "That's just part of what America is about - to have a post office."

L. Taylor, 30, who lives in a nearby neighborhood, wouldn't mind buying a mailbox because she does not want to drive to Victoria to pick up her family's mail every day.

"You've seen my car," she said, nodding to a black Dodge Ram pickup. "Gas is $3.40 right now. ... We are a community, too."

The post office's hours are already inconvenient, and it does not need to be manned, said Emmalee Tavares, who works at Telferner Grocery and Market.

"If they put a stamp machine in there, it would be OK," she said.

The current Telferner post office retail hours are 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 2 to 4 p.m. weekdays.

Last year, officials discussed combining Victoria's downtown post office, 312 S. Main St., with the James Moody post office, 2804 Sam Houston Drive.

On Thursday, Bolen said there are no changes planned there.



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