U.S. Rep. Chris Murphy made a stop before heading back to Washington to speak with Tariffville residents about the closure of their post office what it would mean for the small portion of Simsbury.
Murphy assured residents he is making every effort to keep local post offices open, including writing and calling postal service officials on their behalf, but he said sometimes they don’t listen to congressmen.
The Tariffville Post Office, which was located 39 Main St., shut down in February after the building was temporarily closed following structural integrity concerns.
“The building was closed for two days so the landlord could remove dangerous snow,” said John Nagy, a member of the Tariffville Village Association. “The other tenants came back after two days but the post office didn’t.”
Tariffville residents now have to go to the main post office in Simsbury, which is over three miles away for most of them.
“I am nervous, we all should be nervous,” Murphy told Tariffville residents. “We are living in a time of post office retraction, and you know this is not the only fight to keep a small local post office open in the 5th district.”
Murphy, who sits on the Oversight and Government Reform Committee which oversees the U.S. Postal Service, faces the closing of more post offices in his district including the downtown offices in Waterbury and Danbury.
Murphy said the Oversight and Government Reform Committee is set to hold meetings in the coming week to address necessary Postal Service reforms, and he is requesting the chair of the committee to hold a hearing on closure plans for local offices.
“My pitch to the postal service, on this and several other issues, is this is bad business for them,” Murphy said. He continued to say they are in a competitive market with UPS and FedEx, and if they remove their retail presence they are seeding business.
The Tariffville Village Association has worked to beautify the area on Main Street by building a gazebo and planning landscaping projects; all to attract more people, but losing the post office was tough for them economically, according to Nagy.
“The post office got a lot of business from Granby, Hartland, and Bloomfield, but now they go elsewhere,” Nagy said. “But before they would stop at the post office then they would eat at our restaurants and visit our business, which was good for us economically.”
No layoffs were made when the small branch – only containing 165 PO boxes – closed, one staff member was transferred and another retired, but Murphy said the growing issue is dramatic downsizing in staffing local offices.
Tariffville is part of the town of Simsbury, which has been active in attempting to reopen a location on Main Street.
“The town of Simsbury has been working with the Tariffville Village Association and Rep. Murphy to get a viable post office opened in Tariffville,” said Simbury’s Deputy Selectmen John Hampton. He added the town has offered alternate locations on Main Street in order to bring the office back.
Murphy followed his visit with residents of Tariffville with a tour of the Mill at 2T facilities, which houses several local businesses, and a tour of Main Street led by Tariffville Village Association members.