Published on Wednesday, 30 November -0001 00:00
By Jean Doran Matua, Editor
A public meeting was held Wednesday, Nov. 7, in the Eden Valley Civic Center with about
35 people in attendance. Trivonda Ray from the USPS regional office led the meeting, and postmasters from two other towns were there to help.
A survey was mailed to 901 postal customers in Eden Valley more than a month ago. A total of 325 surveys were returned. Ninety-one percent of the respondents chose realignment of hours as the option they preferred to deal with budgetary deficits.
Ray explained the realities of declining postal revenues in the USPS system overall, and Eden Valley is no exception.
Because of public resistance, she explained that the USPS is no longer closing small post offices, but rather reducing hours to two, four or six hours a day. Eden Valley was pegged for reduction to six hours a day. Which six hours was a main reason for last week's meeting.
The proposed hours were Monday-Friday from 8:15 a.m.-12:15 and 2:15-4:15 p.m. Several members of the audience suggested a 9:15 start time with either a shorter mid-day break or a longer open time at the end of the day.
In Eden Valley, the morning's mail arrives at around 9:00 or so, and is not available for pickup until after
11 a.m. Opening window service at 9:15 (instead of 8:15) each morning would not interfere with that timing.
Saturday postal hours will not be affected; they will remain 10-11 a.m. Also, lobby hours will stay the same, staying open until 10 p.m. There currently are not automatic locks on the building, and that is something that may be added at some point.
A few months ago, the Watkins Post Office took over responsibility for rural carriers in Eden Valley, and the Eden Valley Post Office lost its postmaster (she took the place of the postmaster who retired from Watkins, and was replaced by an Officer In Charge, a step down from postmaster). This was done in part because the Watkins Post Office was configured to be able to accommodate the extra carriers, and the Eden Valley Post Office was not.
For now, Ray says, the Eden Valley Post Office is making enough in revenues to stay open at 6 hours a day. Nothing is permanent, and further reductions may be looked at in the future if needed.
Elimination of Saturday delivery is still an option for cost reduction, but Ray said there has been a lot of business resistance to that.
One audience member asked why rural delivery customers don't pay, but those with P.O. boxes do. (That goes back to Benjamin Franklin, the first Postmaster, who established the Rural Free Delivery system. That can't be changed without an act of Congress, literally, and is unlikely.)
Ray pointed out that a number of postal services are now available online. These include printing your own postage, submitting address changes, and putting your mail on hold. These services and more are available at usps.com.
The reduction of service hours at the Eden Valley Post Office are part of a $1.2 billion cost reduction by the USPS, known as the POST Plan. You can read more about this online at usps.com/outfuture