USF-area apartment complex receiving mail again

For two weeks, mailboxes at the Breckenridge Apartment Complex sat empty.

On Friday, the mail was suddenly there.

“They’re delivering our mail. I’m so excited,” Lisa Shea, manager for Breckenridge, said. “We’re grateful and thankful that it’s resolved and … that we’re back to business as usual.”

The surprise arrival of postal carriers to the complex, located on Skipper Road near the USF golf course, is the latest development in a nearly month-long spat between apartment management and the postal service.

The trouble began when postal officials determined that Breckenridge should be re-classified as a “single-point delivery” location, meaning the postal service would consider Breckenridge a dorm, instead of an apartment complex. Postal officials said the reason for the decision was that the complex individually leases rooms instead of entire apartments.

In a single-point delivery situation, postal carriers do not sort and deliver to individual boxes. Instead, mail is delivered in bulk to the complex’s main office, where apartment employees are responsible for sorting. Last week, Shea estimated that sorting would delay mail delivery by up to three hours and cost the complex about $13,000 a year.

For that reason, Breckenridge management protested the postal service’s decision and refused to accept the bulk mail as it was delivered. Residents were forced to travel to the Florida Avenue postal annex to collect mail.

Late last week, Shea met with postal employees and was given an opportunity to explain her position. After that meeting, postal service resumed. However, the problem may not be completely solved.

Postal spokesman Gary Sawtelle said postal attorneys are looking into the matter to determine what to do next.

“The postmaster of Tampa decided to continue delivery to the apartments while the legal points of view were ironed out by the lawyers,” Sawtelle said. “I can’t predict when any action could be taken, but it would appear that we’re looking at probably … (several) months or longer.”

Shea said attorneys for Breckenridge are also preparing for future trouble. But, she said, the current problem appears to be solved.

“We want to be more prepared next time if this comes up again,” Shea said. “But, from what I gather from the post office, we’re back to business as usual.”