Since 1980, the City of Monte Sereno has operated a contract post office at City Hall under a franchise agreement with the United States Postal Service.
For the last several years the agreement called for USPS to pay Monte Sereno a fixed amount of revenue, $36,000 annually, to operate the contract post office, 18041 Saratoga Los Gatos Rd.
Recently, however, the USPS has engaged city staff to explore the possibility of modifying the contract from a fixed payment to a performance-based payment, according to a staff report considered by Monte Sereno officials during a May 7 meeting.
The USPS has told the city that it can no longer support a fixed-payment system due to its ongoing fiscal reorganization and has indicated that it may exercise its right to terminate the contract station if Monte Sereno does not agree to a performance-based contract, the report said.
Under the proposed performance-based system, the USPS would pay the city based on a percentage of stamp and meter sales.
According to estimates by the USPS, the annual revenue for the city under the new performance based system would be about $15,000 annually, the report said.
The estimates provided are based on the city receiving 5 percent compensation for stamp sales and 19 percent compensation for package and meter sales, the report added.
The budgeted amount for the Monte Sereno post office for the upcoming fiscal year is $35,853, not including overhead expenses. Accepting a performance-based contract would mean the city would have to subsidize the post office operations by about $20,853 annually, the report indicated.
The USPS has indicated that the Monte Sereno post office had generated $130,592 in revenue during the 2012 calendar year. Under the new proposal, the USPS projected revenue would increase by approximately $20,853 annually, while the city's expenses would increase by an equal amount, the report added.
At their April 2, meeting, the Monte Sereno City Council considered the issue and decided to continue the discussion to allow for public outreach to be conducted.
Since that meeting staff conducted a post office user survey via the city's email distribution list and city website asking residents how often they used the facility, where they lived, what service they used the most and if they would be willing to pay a parcel tax to maintain the existing post office services.
According to results the majority of respondents use the post office weekly or more, live in Monte Sereno, use the facility to drop off mail and would be against paying a parcel tax to maintain it.
Staff is now requesting direction from the City Council as to whether staff should continue to explore and negotiate a performance based contract with the USPS, or whether staff should decline the performance based contract.
So ... is the Monte Sereno Post Office closing? No, staff said, city officials are just discussing a revised contract proposed that would result in a reduction in revenue for the city to operate the facility.
The other three post offices close to Monte Sereno are the ones in Los Gatos, .8 mile away, 101 So. Santa Cruz Ave.; the one in Campbell, 2.7 miles away, 1587 Dell Ave.; and the one in Saratoga, 2.8 miles away, 19630 Allendale Lane.
Questions or concerns about the Monte Sereno USPS contract may be sent via snail mail to United States Postal Service - Consumer Affairs, 1675 7th Street, room 330, Oakland, CA 94615, or call 510-874-8737.