Housing authority disputes postal service key policy|[3/4/05]

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 4, 2005

The director of the Vicksburg Housing Authority has asked for congressional action in a dispute over mail service to some public housing residents.

Executive director Jim Stirgus Sr. has written Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Bolton, and both of the state’s U.S. senators asking for help in resolving a dispute with the U.S. Postal Service in Vicksburg.

Stirgus wants the postal service to retain responsibility for tracking and issuing keys for 34 mailboxes for residents of Valley Court, an apartment complex managed by the VHA off Hayes Street. Stirgus said the postal service has had the duty since the apartments were completed in 1982.

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As of Tuesday, the complex has new mailboxes, Stirgus said. They replaced previous boxes destroyed Jan. 31 when hit by a car.

After the authority installed the replacements and Stirgus requested that the post office resume maintenance of keys for the complex’s residents, Marcell Davis of the post office told him the service will no longer be provided, Stirgus said.

“I don’t think it’s fair,” he said.

Davis said she could not comment on Stirgus’ letter.

Valley Court resident Kim Harris said residents of the complex have had to travel the just over three miles to the main Vicksburg post office, 3415 Pemberton Square Blvd., and show identification to retrieve their mail since the former mailbox units were destroyed.

The VHA maintains and issues keys for mailboxes for residents of some of its other homes, Stirgus said.

“I told (Davis) that the post office was responsible for 34 mailboxes on Valley Court and 50 mailboxes on Urban Court only,” Stirgus said in his letter to lawmakers.

Stirgus said the new Valley Court mailboxes cost $2,882.

Those mailboxes are “going to waste,” and residents are “upset that they have to go across town to get their mail,” Stirgus said in his letter.