Mail box plan voluntary, says area manager

Published 5:00 am Monday, October 9, 2000

A post office plan to install mail boxes for curbside deliveryis not mandatory, but is encouraged to help improve mailefficiency, the south Mississippi postal operations manager saidFriday.

The mail box plan, announced in letters to some homeowners abouttwo weeks ago, has generated some opposition from historic districtresidents concerned about neighborhood appearance. The BrookhavenTrust last week approved a resolution against the “generic, black”mail boxes, and a petition drive was launched against the plan.

The mail box letters said the post office would be installingmail boxes at no cost to homeowners in about two weeks. Lettersgave no indication that homeowners had a choice in the plan.

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However, Sheila Beaugez, acting manager of post officeoperations for south Mississippi, said Friday the plan wasvoluntary. She said the post office was sorry for any confusion inthe matter.

“We take a lot of pride in providing good service and wecertainly want a good relationship with the community,” Beaugezsaid.

While the curbside conversion is voluntary, Beaugez echoedearlier post office concerns about mail efficiency.

“It’s something we do look at and do encourage because of thecosts involved,” Beaugez said about curbside delivery. “It’s a lotmore efficient for us to be able to have curbside delivery.”

Beaugez said she wanted to put to rest any concerns about themail box plan. She said the post office wants to provide goodservice to customers.

“That’s our main concern: being there and delivering your mail,”Beaugez said.

With about half the city’s residential stops already set up forcurbside delivery, postal officials earlier said they were aimingfor about a 90-95 percent conversion rate. They said, though,conversion in some areas may be limited due to historic districtguidelines.

Parts of Brookhaven’s historic district were among the first ofthe city’s eight routes to be targeted for conversion.

Preferring to keep boxes on their homes, historic districtresidents and others contended the boxes would be “tacky” and wouldhurt community appearance. Concerns were also raised about maildelivery to elderly and shut-in residents, although postalofficials said they would be taken care of.