A contract securing the continued operation of the Auke Bay Post Office for the next five years will be signed this week, the property owner who rents space to the U.S. Postal Service confirms.
Myron Klein and the postal service made a "verbal contract" Tuesday morning for a five-year lease with a slight rent increase, Klein said.
The agreement comes at the end of a dispute over a proposed $31,000 per year rent increase. In early February, Klein asked for $139,000 in rent, up from the $108,000 the postal service has paid since the inception of the original lease agreement in 1986.
In a letter to the Empire, Klein said the rent increase was due to higher operating costs. Neither party would disclose the rent settled on in the new contract.
"They will be paying a little more than they were before," Klein said. "They have been there for a long time and I didn't want to see them move or close down the branch."
Juneau Postmaster Kent Eriksen said he was pleased service in the area could continue uninterrupted.
Eriksen said the issue of maintenance of the property, which he said had been lax in the past, had been a sticking point in negotiations. Klein said provisions were made in the new contract for maintenance.
Had the contract not been signed, the branch would have been relocated or privatized, Eriksen said.
The post office advertised for a private contractor in mid-February and received one bid by its deadline Monday, said Paul Larson, who handles contracts for the post office. Klein and the post office reached an agreement early Tuesday, Eriksen said.
Melanie Plenda can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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