The future of the Bradford Post Office will remain uncertain until at least the end of the summer, officials said.
The U.S. Postal Service is waiting for decisions to be made in Washington, D.C., that will affect the Bradford site.
Mike Foley, the USPS district discontinuance coordinator, said a decision about the future of the site in Bradford Square won’t come until legislation that would improve the postal service’s finances goes before the U.S. House of Representatives.
That is not expected to happen prior to the House breaking for its six-week summer recess on Aug. 3.
The Senate has already passed similar legislation.
“Currently, all the discontinuances are on hold,” Foley said. “We are looking to see what Congress does in terms of guidance and relief. All post offices will stay open until then.”
The Bradford Post Office was on a list of 3,700 post offices which were being considered for closing by the USPS due to its financial problems.
The Senate bill passed in April would reduce the prefunding of retired workers’ benefits and eliminate door-to-door delivery in certain neighborhoods. It would cut costs by about $6.5 billion per year, while giving the USPS an $11 billion infusion. The bill would also open the door to the possibility of the Postal Service adding services to generate additional revenue.
In 2006, Congress passed the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act, which required the Postal Service to pump more than $5 billion a year into prefunding employee retirement benefits expected to come due during the next 75 years.
The USPS is the only agency, public or private, that has had the requirement, which defenders of the postal service say has caused it to show a financial loss instead of a surplus.
Congresswoman Niki Tsongas joined 100 of her House colleagues in writing a letter to Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe in May, urging him to put off closing any post offices until the House has acted on the financial relief package.
“The recent Senate passage is evidence that Congress is putting the USPS on the path towards sustainability,” Tsongas wrote at the time.
On May 9, the USPS announced that a self-imposed moratorium on post office closings had been extended until further notice.
Once decisions are made by Congress, the USPS will then likely make a decision about the future of the Bradford office. Foley said that office would not close until 60 days after any announcement. The 60 days includes a 30-day posting period, during which an appeal can be filed.
In addition to the Bradford site, Haverhill has the main post office in downtown Washington Square, as well as a station in Ward Hill. The Washington Square office is less than a mile from the Bradford Post Office.
Mayor James Fiorentini has been concerned that closing the Bradford station would lead to parking issues downtown, as well as an overcrowding problem for the Washington Square office.
He wrote a letter expressing those concerns to the postmaster general last year, when the USPS announced that there was the possibility of closing the Bradford site.