(September 21, 2014) The U.S. Postal Service is planning to shut down the Downtown Bryan Post Office due to declining revenues, according to U.S. Rep. Bill Flores, R-Bryan, though his offices were not made aware of a timeline.
But officials from Post Office Operations in Houston insist the office will remain open for now.
The future of the downtown office is in question after the Postal Service called for a meeting last week to discuss possible changes, but canceled it two days later.
A letter dated Tuesday from the manager of Post Office Operations in Houston set a meeting for Oct. 2 at the main post office in Bryan off William Joel Bryan Parkway near Texas 6, asking for residents to voice opinions on a possible change in services.
Dionne Montague, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Postal Service in Houston, said Thursday the meeting had been canceled and there are no plans to close the downtown office.
“This is really a non-story, because there’s nothing going on with that office,” she said.
Montague said the letter was sent in error and should not have been distributed. She said she did not know how the error was made.
But Flores said the location has been preparing to close since March. He was sent a letter from Amy Garza, the manager, consumer and industry contact for the Post Office Operations in Houston, which said feasibility studies had been performed on the downtown location starting Aug. 9, 2013.
“After the study was completed and the data was provided to headquarters, it was determined the Downtown Bryan Station will be closing,” the letter reads.
Flores said the closing of the facility is necessary due to declining revenues.
“It’s an unfortunate situation, but it’s a situation the post office has to do if it wants to remain financially viable,” he said. “I wish it wasn’t happening, but it’s not immune to the same economic pressures that families face all over the country.”
Tuesday’s letter that announced the Oct. 2 meeting also said the Downtown Post Office has experienced a steady decline in revenue and volume over the past several years. The Eagle requested financial data to show the possible decline, but Montague said Friday she wasn’t able to provide the information without knowing the details of this story.
The Eagle spoke to Montague on Thursday and Flores on Friday, and the Postal Service spokeswoman could not be reached to respond to Flores’ comments Friday or Saturday.
Flores’ office sent information to The Eagle about how the national agency has run more than $40 billion in deficits since 2007. According to a recent Congressional Research Service report, many postal reform bills have been introduced to Congress that propose raising the rates mailers pay, reducing the days of delivery and closing USPS offices and mail sorting facilities.
And the Brazos Valley offices have not been immune to those hardships; In 2011, the financially troubled agency announced that it would study more than 3,600 offices, branches and stations for possible closing. Four rural post offices in the Brazos Valley made the list — Mumford, Leona, Chriesman and Deanville.
In 2012, the postal service shut down Bryan’s mail processing center and moved its operations to Austin, a move that was projected to eliminate around 40 local jobs and save at least $4 million a year.
Representatives of the local postal workers union did not want to speak on the record about the possible shutdown.
Flores said he was not given a timeline for when the Downtown Bryan post office will shut down. According to the March letter, the community will be informed through mail when the actual closing date has been chosen.
“They’re looking at consolidating facilities all over the country, so Bryan is in the same situation that scores of communities are in all over the country,” he said.
The main U.S. Post Office for the region is on E. William Joel Bryan Parkway close to Texas 6; another is on Houston Street in College Station. The letter dated last Tuesday states “there are a number of alternative sites within a short radius of this office to provide the sale of stamps and the mailing of most package items.”
According to Garza’s March letter, the Post Office boxes at the downtown location will be relocated to the larger Bryan office on E. William J. Parkway. There will be no change in customer’s P.O. box addresses and full retail services will be available at that location, the letter states.
A supervisor at the E. William Joel Bryan location said Friday the downtown post office is going to remain as it is and that there have been no other discussions about closing it.
“Nothing is going to change, the post office is going to stay there, it’s going to operate as normal,” he said.
The supervisor asked to see the letter given to The Eagle, and once handed to him refused to give back the letter, despite being asked to do so by a reporter twice. He also refused to give his name and title for the record, though he was wearing a name tag that identified him as Mark Kasner. Other employees identified him as the supervisor.