Powhatan Point Post Office may have hours cut

ONE of the Eastern Ohio communities under consideration for reduced hours at post offices is Powhatan Point where a meeting is scheduled Oct. 30 at 5 p.m. in the municipal building about the post office hours.

The U.S. Postal Service sent letters and surveys to Powhatan Point residents about future operations at the post office in the village. The surveys are to be returned by Oct. 16.

According to the letter, the Postal Service has established a review process for certain post offices known as the POST Plan, and the Powhatan Point office is among those being evaluated under POST Plan criteria.

Powhatan residents are asked what six-hour period, five days a week, they would like to have window service. It does not give a choice of the current eight hours a day service.

The Oct. 30 meeting is to answer questions and provide additional information about the POST Plan. At the meeting, local management will share results of the survey, answer questions and seek input regarding the time of day the post office will be open.

Powhatan is not the only Eastern Ohio community under study through the POST Plan as towns in all four area counties are included.

A 260-page list of post offices facing reduced hours throughout the nation was posted in May.

In addition to noting current hours, the list includes proposed retail hours for the post offices named. The proposed retail hours for post offices listed vary from two to four to six.

It is noted that the 260-page list of post offices is preliminary, and additional review, analysis, and verification are needed. The list is subject to change.

Among those on the preliminary list in addition to Powhatan Point are Beallsville, Jerusalem, Lewisville, Adena, Alledonia, Barton, Bergholz, Blaine, Brilliant, Clarington, Colerain, Glencoe, Hannibal, New Athens, Piedmont, Holloway, Jacobsburg, Lansing, Maynard, Mount Pleasant, Morristown, Bowerston, Cameron, Irondale, Smithfield, Lafferty, Tiltonsville, Warnock, Yorkville, Bannock, Harrisville, Neffs, Jewett and Scio.

According to the letter to Powhatan residents, “Although survey results will be known and shared, the Postal Service will not make a final decision regarding this office until after the public meeting. This will enable the Postal Service to obtain all community input and opinions, from both the surveys and the meeting, before making a final decision.”

The letter notes, in part: “After receiving the results of this survey, the Postal Service will examine the responses and, unless the community has a strong preference (more than 60 percent) for conducting a discontinuance study for the Powhatan Point Post Office and establishing one of the additional sources of services (described) … , the Postal Service intends to maintain the Powhatan Point Post Office with 6 hours of window service each weekday. Current Saturday window service hours and access to delivery receptacles will not change as a result of the POST Plan realignment of weekday window service hours.”

In May, the Postal Service after feeling pressure from Congress announced it had dropped plans to close several thousand money-losing rural mail stations. At that time, it noted that reduced hours were expected for more than 13,000 rural facilities to offset the cost of keeping all of them open.

The Post Service expects to save $500 million a year from the POST Plan, and the goal is to complete it in September 2014. According to previous reports, as many as 9,000 post offices could remain open only two to four hours a day and an additional 4,000 could be cut back to six-hour workdays. The two- to four-hour offices will be managed by part-time employees receiving hourly wages and no benefits; the six-hour post offices will be managed by part-time employees with some benefits, such as accrual of annual leave.

Meetings throughout the nation about the POST Plan are getting under way this month.