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Post Office changes possible

The Meansville Post Office is one of hundreds across the county that are being studied by the United States Postal Service for a possible reduction in hours. A USPS survey was sent out in early May to customers of the Meansville Post Office. The office is now open for just over six hours a day, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m., closing for lunch from 12 noon to 1:30 p.m. The USPS will hold a public meeting at the Meansville Post Office Thursday, June 13 at 1 p.m. to answer questions, provide information and share the results of the survey. A final decision about changes to the post office will not be made until after the public meeting. ’This is something they’re looking at all over the country, particularly in small towns,’ said Mark Pitts, officer in charge at the Meansville Post Office. ‘The USPS is looking at trying to save money by reducing hours at offices that don’t do a lot of business. For us, they’re proposing a reduction to six hours, which really won’t change our window hours all that much.’ The survey was mailed out the first week in May to all Meansville residents, asking their preference on whether to keep the office open with reduced hours or to conduct a discontinuance study for the post office. ’All of this is part of a nationwide effort looking at smaller offices across the country, offices that are open a full day but don’t get a lot of business,’ said Michael Miles, USPS public information officer. ‘They’ll be open and still be able to serve customers but their hours will come closer to reflecting amount of use. Anyone who uses the Meansville Post Office and who could be potentially impacted by changes in hours are asked to attend the meeting. We’ll discuss the plan for a possible reduction in hours and will give customers the opportunity to discuss any concerns they might have.’ In the survey, postal customers were asked to select one of four options. The first survey option was to keep the office open but with realigned weekday window service hours based on actual office workload. In the case of the Meansville Post Office, hours would be changed from 6.25 hours each weekday to six hours each weekday. Current Saturday window service hours will not change as a result of the plan and access to delivery receptacles will not be impacted. The second survey option was to conduct a discontinuance study for the office and provide roadside mailbox delivery. Retail and delivery service would be provided through a rural carrier. Mail delivery points will be established or maintained and customers can purchase most postal services through the carrier or other alternate access points. For customers who now receive delivery service, the Post Plan will not affect that service. The third survey option was to conduct a discontinuance study for the office and find a suitable alternative location operated by a contractor, usually at a local business. When businesses are found that meet the criteria, these establishments are contracted through the USPS and offer samples and flat rate products with service hours generally more expansive than what the post office may be able to offer. The fourth survey option was to conduct a discontinuance study for the office and relocate P.O. box service to a nearby post office. Miles noted Meansville is included in the second phase of such surveys for post office reductions. ’We’ve got a couple of initiatives going on in various post offices in Georgia. One involves reducing post office hours and the other involves relocating carriers from smaller post offices,’ he said. ‘The surveys specifically speaks to post office hour reductions. There are some pending actions with letter carrier relocations in a couple of those offices. The postal service will move letter carriers to one location instead of working out of four offices. That way, when we send the mail out, we send it to only one place instead of four places. The customers won’t notice a difference in service.’

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