Hours to be reduced at local post offices
ATLAS - Residents of Locust Gap, Kulpmont and Marion Heights met with U.S. Postal Service officials Wednesday to discuss the reduction of service hours at their facilities.
Michael Wolfberg and Curt Evert, postmasters for Selinsgrove and Mount Carmel, respectively, held a meeting at the Atlas American Legion for each municipality to share results of surveys mailed approximately four weeks ago to residents.
The survey contained four options on potential changes to their post office. Residents chose between realignment of hours, delivery option, nearby post office or village post office, which would place a post office in a location such as a business or library.
The surveys were part of a review process and evaluation known as the POST plan, which is the result of fiscal woes of the Postal Service that ended the 2012 fiscal year with a record net loss of $15.9 billion. The loss comes on the heals of a $5.1 billion loss in 2011.
In total, 2,074 surveys were mailed and 805 were returned. Of those returns, 90 percent favored realignment of hours.
Starting in February, the window at Locust Gap will be open from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. Monday through Saturday. Kulpmont's window will be open for six hours, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (with lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.), Monday through Friday, and from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday. Marion Heights' window will be open for four hours, from 11:45 a.m. to 3:45 p.m., Monday through Friday and 7:30 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday.
Wolfberg stressed that only window hours will change; this won't restrict residents from accessing their individual mail boxes during regular business hours.
Administrative duties for Locust Gap and Marion Heights will be shifted to Mount Carmel, while Shamokin handles administrative duties of Kulpmont.
"We lost 40 billion mail transactions in the past five years and they are not coming back," Wolfberg said. "You can do just about anything online, but it's not the center of the community."
Shirley Brass, a long-time resident of Locust Gap, does all of her business through the village's post office, which includes purchasing money orders and stamps.
"I believe in the local post office," Brass said. "I use the post office a lot. I don't believe in the computer doing it."
Results of the surveys can be viewed next week at each post office.