Naples Post Office lease contract comes with fee

By Dawn De Busk

Staff Writer

NAPLES — It was like getting a birthday card in the mail and realizing the cash in the envelope had been nabbed by someone else.

Naples elected officials had hoped to sign a contract with the United States Post Office (USPO) without paying the middle man.

However, the final contract came with a $7,000 negotiating fee. The company charges this cost for re-upping the leases for the USPO; and the company does this practice around the nation, according to Naples Town Manager Ephrem Paraschak.

The fee is placed in a bank account; and the company keeps the interest for a five-year period, he said. After that time period, the town gets the money back, he said.

“This company gets $7,000 up front to complete the lease,” Paraschak told the Naples Board of Selectmen during their regular meeting on Monday.

“I think it is ridiculous. It is ridiculous,” Paraschak said.

Chairman Jim Grattelo said this new development would make null and void a previous vote to accept the contract.

The motion was made to approve it without the fee, Grattelo said, referring to a meeting earlier in August.

Paraschak said the extension on the lease negotiation actually ended Sept. 1. He said if the board did not accept the extra charge, the lease contract would not move forward.

The annual rent is $300,782, said Paraschak, adding he considered that a fair price for leasing the space in the town hall building.

“Procedure wise, I assume we follow Robert’s Rules of Order,” Grattelo said.

“We have a motion on that date, someone who starts the motion has to be the person who voted in the affirmative,” Grattelo explained, adding that could be anyone on the board since it had been unanimously in favor of the contract with no fee.

Selectman Bob Caron II referred to his notes and said that the original motion had been made on Aug. 14.

The first motion was to rescind the vote to approve the lease without the commission. The board voted, 3–0. Kevin Rogers and Rich Cebra were absent.

A new motion was put on the floor: To accept the new lease with the commission. That was passed with a 3–0 vote.

“It is sad that they are doing this,” Caron said after the vote.

Resident Roger Clement stepped up to the microphone.

“Do I understand this correctly? We are going to give someone $7,000. They get to draw the interest and keep the interest and give back the $7,000 to us,” Clement asked.

Yes was the answer. The selectmen’s hands were tied because otherwise the convenient post office space would not be leased.

According to Paraschak, that broker’s fee could be taken from some of the Undesignated Fund balance that was carried over from the postal service budget during the previous fiscal year.

The board voted to take the brokerage fee out of the Undesignated Fund account.

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