Members of the Wallins Creek community packed the Wallins Christian Church on Monday to voice concerns about the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) plan to reduce window service hours at their post office from eight to six hours per day.
“The hours at the Wallins Creek Post Office is only dropping two hours due to the amount of revenue taken in by this office,” said Middlesboro Postmaster Chris Arnett. “Post offices are not closing — just reducing their hours. There are offices which are going to have their hours reduced more than two hours per day. Wallins Creek got the least number of hours that can be cut.”
In July of 2011, as part of a cost-saving initiative called POST Plan, the USPS announced that staff would study approximately 3,700 rural post offices around the country for possible closure or reduction in service due to decreasing mail volume, financial hardships and shifting customer behavior.
To gather community input, a four-question survey was distributed to residents, asking how they would like to see their post office operations change.
After reviewing 298 surveys were returned from the 1,045 mailed to Wallins Creek postal customers, and taking into account postal service operational needs, retail hours for the Wallins Creek Post Office were recommended to be set at Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. until 3:30 p.m., with lunch from 1 p.m. until 1:30 p.m. Saturday hours will be 8:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. The lobby will be open 24 hours per day. He said these hours will begin sometime in February and will be posted at the office. He also said there will be no changes to the delivery route option.
Arnett said the Loyall Post Office will continue to be an eight hour per day office. A public meeting will be held regarding the Lynch Post Office’s hours on Jan. 16 at 3:30 p.m.
Wallins resident Bill Lee said he felt the direct result in reduction of hours was because the postal service took the sorting of mail from Wallins and gave it to the Harlan Post Office.
“Now that the sorting is done in Harlan, it makes our mail two hours later than it used to be,” said Lee. “If the revenue increases at the Wallins Post Office maybe they will re-evaluate and give those hours back to us. Everybody needs to mail their packages, buy their money orders, stamps and do all their other postal business at the Wallins Post Office.”
Lee further asked everyone to contact their representatives and ask that “they clean up the revenue side of the post office.”
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