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Something has come of the advocacy work by Buena Vista residents fed up with postal service problems and having to pay for post office boxes at the U.S. Post Office in Buena Vista. This July 29 Ark Valley Voice news story tracked the frustration that finally boiled over into a summer demonstration.

Leaders of that demonstration pointed out that their frustration was aimed at the system itself, not at the over-worked Postal employees.¬† But the problems of delayed mail, insurance being canceled because bills didn’t arrive, and the outrage over having to pay $166 per year for a post office box in a town where mail isn’t delivered to homes, has been more than many think reasonable. The issue may not be unique to Buena Vista(BV), but the solution has been announced specifically for BV.

Chuck Dorsey stands along Highway 24 to protest the service and fees at Buena Vista’s post office. Photo by Tara Flanagan

Starting January 2, 2023, the Buena Vista Post Office will offer free PO Box Services to qualified Buena Vista residents within geographic delivery ZIP Code boundaries who are not currently served by a delivery route. The decision was reached after a review conducted by the United States Postal Service, Buena Vista Postmaster James Wood, Congressional Representatives, and the Town of Buena Vista, as well as a strong community push.

Customers may apply for Group E (Free) PO Box service by completing PS Form 1093, Application for Post Office Box Service, and presenting it to the Buena Vista Post Office. More information will be available approaching the effective date of January 2, 2023.

Only one Group E PO Box may be obtained for each delivery point of service, under certain conditions. Qualifying customers whose current PO Box rent expires between now and January 2, 2023, may start the application process now.

The Postmaster will evaluate various criteria under DMM 508.4.5 and .4.8, including local laws, physical barriers, and whether the customer is situated along an existing carrier route. This move comes with a caution to manage expectations. Approved customers may experience a downgrade in box size, and they may be constrained to accept General Delivery if there are not enough PO Boxes to go around.

It should be pointed out that the Postal Service generally receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products, and services to fund its operations.