GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP — The township must decide whether it wants to stay in the post office business — and a campaign urging residents to support the downtown business aims to make that decision easier.
Township Council is considering closing the post office at the municipal complex on East Jimmie Leeds Road unless sales improve.
The business — which is contracted by the township from the U.S. Postal Service — is run by supervisor Pamela Conover, a township employee. Conover said the post office generated more than $500,000 last year, and the township gets about 10 percent of all sales. The business operated at about a $12,000 deficit in each of the past few years, but Conover said the township also saves money by doing its mailings through the office. She said the operation essentially is a wash for the township.
But with the township facing budget issues — including a potential 1.7-cent tax-rate increase in the proposed 2012 budget — officials say they must get more from the location or they may have to close it.
To spur interest, the township developed a “Use It Or Lose It” campaign to bring more customers to the site. Resident Anna Jezycki, a strong proponent of the post office, has placed signs and fliers around town as well as relayed communication through various organizations to spread the word.
Jezycki said it was hard for the township to get a central post office, which opened in October 2001, and she doesn’t want to see it close.
“I feel every town should have a post office, and it’s our post office,” she said. “If we lose it we will never have one again in Galloway Township.”
Council has discussed closing the post office in the past but decided against it.
Township Manager Arch Liston said he hopes to make about $100,000 a year to cover expenses and overhead for the building. Liston said it draws patrons downtown to visit other local businesses.
“The point of this is for people to take advantage of a downtown mailbox,” he said.
Mayor Don Purdy said he supports the project but only if it is feasible for the township. He said recent budget problems have made council more aware of the importance of efficiency, and he is sensitive to potentially hurting other businesses that compete to provide this service.
“I want the make the post office work,” he said. “I don’t want the township to be providing a business we really shouldn’t be in.”
Conover, the office’s lone full-time employee, said there are other offices in the township, including Smithville, Oceanville, Cologne and Leeds Point, but this is the only township-run post office and the only one in the center of town.
Mail delivery is handled by the Absecon and Egg Harbor City branches, Conover said, but customers are upset by the possibility of losing the local office for convenience’s sake.
“I’d be very disappointed if it closed down,” said township resident Bernice Guerrieri. “I patronize it as much as I can. I want it to stay open.”
News of the campaign has brought more activity recently, Conover said.
Township resident Denise Nappi came by to purchase postcard stamps Wednesday after hearing of the campaign.
“I think it would be a shame if it closed,” she said. “I use it for all my other errands downtown. It’s very convenient.”
The Galloway office isn’t the only one facing the possibility of closing.
In July, the Postal Service announced the possible closing of 3,700 post offices, including its Manahawkin, Long Beach Township, Harvey Cedars, Dividing Creek and Goshen locations. In December, the agency added 250 of its mail processing locations, including the Pleasantville center, to the list.
Postal Service spokesman Ray V. Daiutolo Sr. said no decisions have been made and the agency told Congress it would not close any locations before May 15. But Galloway’s downtown post office is different because it is run through a contract by the township.
“It’s just another way for the Postal Service to provide alternative services to customers in the area,” he said.
Contact Joel Landau: