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June 9, 2022
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READ FULL ARTICLE AT » on Tester | U.S. Senator for Montana

Following months of discussions with Big Sky Post Office stakeholders and the United States Postal Service (USPS), U.S. Senator Jon Tester secured a $229,000 per year increase in funding for the Big Sky Post Office to support continued services in the face of the area’s rapid population growth, bringing annual funding to $547,000 effective March 1, 2023.

The increase in funding will eliminate the Post Office’s reliance on local tax dollars, freeing up approximately $64,300 in Local Resort Tax dollars to support the growing community.

“Folks in Montana rely on the Postal Service for everything from prescription drugs to Social Security benefits,” said Tester. “As Big Sky continues to boom, it’s critical that its residents have access to everything the Postal Service has to offer. This funding will allow the Big Sky Post Office to support the current population – while freeing up local tax dollars – and is a big step towards necessary, permanent facility expansion.”

“As Big Sky grows, it’s critical we adapt for our future and build on the spirit of collaboration that makes this community special,” said Big Sky Resort Area District Executive Director Daniel Bierschwale. “The District is proud to have supported the Big Sky Post Office and thrilled with the recent collaboration across local, state, and federal government helping plan for the future of postal operations in Big Sky. We appreciate the efforts of Senator Tester and his staff in helping to secure this funding increase, and look forward to working together to find further long term solutions.”

Tester’s push was prompted by outreach from Big Sky community members citing recent, rapid population growth as the cause for post office capacity issues and the urgent need for permanent facility expansion. Following outreach from the community, Tester facilitated meetings between USPS representatives and local stakeholders resulting in the increased funding for the current facility, and the start of the surveying process for permanent facility expansion.

Tester also sent a letter in May to USPS Director of Post Office Operations, Ms. Leslie Johnson Frick, urging her to visit Big Sky and hold meetings with postal customers and assess capacity of the local contracted USPS facility. In his letter, Tester noted the success of the Big Sky Post Office during the past 20 years and cited the tremendous growth of the community as a reason for potential facility expansion.

Tester has been Montana’s leading champion holding the USPS accountable. In April, his Postal Reform Act was signed into law, which ensures long-term, reliable mail service and put the USPS on sound financial footing. He has repeatedly pushed Postmaster General Louis DeJoy on USPS policy changes that have delayed mail, threatened to undermine the agency, and harmed rural America. In 2020, Tester blew the whistle on USPS for removing dozens of mail collection boxes from towns across Montana, leading USPS to pause its removal of collection boxes nationwide until after the November election. Since the beginning of the pandemic, thousands of Montanans have contacted Tester to express concerns about mail delays and their effects on Montana’s frontier communities.

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