ARIZONA CITY — Some area residents have expressed their concerns and dissatisfaction with the Arizona City Post Office.
Long before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, there were residents unhappy due to the unavailability of having mail delivered to their physical address, leaving just one option, which is to have everything sent to a post office box.
During these past few months residents expressed their concerns about a perceived lack of safety precautions taken when they do go to get their mail.
Tony Caverly, a resident in Arizona City, told PinalCentral that before the pandemic, the biggest struggle was receiving his mail. He mentioned that the post office gives him a certain amount of time to pick up mail before it gets sent back and if the address is not written in a specific manner, it also is sent back.
Former Arizona City business owner Sean Patrick said he moved his Tumtumcar business to the Phoenix area after less than a year of relocating to the Arizona City area because nearly $17,000 of parts and components for his electrical vehicles was lost through the mail.
“The problem is many businesses misread the ‘#’ sign for something else and change it to unit, mailbox or dept. and the (contractual postal unit) does not acknowledge the fact,” Patrick said. “Surprisingly, half of such addressed mail is delivered, the other half vanishes, and the CPU cannot justify this magic. Losing money, losing on shipping charges, losing customers, we recently decided to relocate our business elsewhere.”
Patrick stated that the residents follow the specific directions on how to address their mail, but mail still continually gets lost.
Caverly added that picking up his mail has become a nightmare during the pandemic.
“We’ve got to go there and stand in a line with 40 people, standing inches away from each other to get packages that the rest of America gets delivered to their house,” Caverly said. “We’re putting our lives at risk to get our mail picked up at a post office and it just makes no sense.”
Caverly believes that the post office should be receiving more packages now during the pandemic because many people are ordering online in hopes of avoiding a trip to the store, which defeats the purpose if they still have to wait in a long line.
Many of the Arizona City residents are retirees and Caverly stated that of those waiting in line, there is a mixture of people wearing face masks and others who aren’t.
“Half the people that live here are elderly people who don’t need to be going to the post office even if there is no pandemic,” Caverly said.
Dugan Morrow said he has been troubled by the number of people not wearing masks at the post office, including the workers. He said he also noticed a Pinal County Sheriff’s Office deputy there not wearing a mask.
“When I got home I called the Pinal County Sheriff Communication Division and asked about the sheriff representative at the post office not wearing a mask,” Morrow told PinalCentral in a letter. “She told me that Governor (Doug) Ducey has not required that masks be worn.”
Caverly said residents have to renew their P.O. boxes every year with proof of residency. Like many others, he stood in line and showed his mortgage payment to keep his P.O. box.
“The IRS suspended my taxes till June and I don’t have to worry about them until June, but I have to worry about a P.O. box being re-enlisted and they made no exceptions,” he said. “I asked, ‘You’re not going to postpone this?’ They said, ‘No, this is something we have to do.’ This is absolutely crazy, I mean we pay for postage, we pay for Amazon Prime and three-quarters of the stuff can’t be delivered.”
There is a petition online with more than 380 signatures asking the postmaster in Casa Grande to allow mail sent to street addresses in Arizona City to be delivered to P.O. boxes. The online petition states that when purchasing something online, the package may be sent via UPS SurePost, which is dropped off at the post office and marked as undeliverable because the purchase requires a street address.
“Previously we had a workaround, add our P.O. box to the ZIP code (+4) and the Arizona City Post Office would deliver it anyway,” the online petition reads. “Now the Arizona City Post Office informs us that the USPS has a (+4) ZIP code system that makes the use of P.O. boxes as +4 unreliable and cannot be used.”
Caverly has lived in Arizona City for four years and before that he lived in Maricopa. He pointed out that there are mailboxes at the end of the street, and each household has its own locked box. He thinks something similar to this would do the residents a lot of good in Arizona City.
“I know the people at the post office mean well; I just think something needs to change,” Caverly said.
The Arizona City Post Office is operated under a contract with the Postal Service. On Wednesday a representative of the contractor called PinalCentral to complain that this story didn't have the facts straight but hung up before answering any questions.
A representative with the U.S. Postal Service's corporate communications office in Phoenix provided a response after the story first ran and stated that Contract Postal Units provide the same level of service as regular post offices.
"We encourage all customers to use their proper mailing address with correspondents," Carl Fondelheit IV said. "USPS often serves as a last mile delivery agent for many shippers and a proper post office box address helps connect packages to the recipient. When in doubt, both the street address and the post office box should be provided to shippers, which will ensure an expeditious handling of the package."
Several years ago residents voted against a change to home delivery. Despite strong sentiment in favor of it, concerns were raised about where neighborhood collection boxes would be located and whether a contract office would remain after the change.