As post offices across the country continue to shut their doors or reduce services, residents of North Granville will be the next to see change.
As part of its POST Plan, a review process for certain post offices, the postal service sent out a letter to those living with an address in North Granville. Though a survey included with the letter gives residents several options, a local post office official said a reduction in hours has already been decided.
“The only input anybody can give is what hours it’s open,” said the official, who asked not to be named. “The office doesn’t bring in enough revenue to support itself. Instead of closing, we’ve come to an agreement with Congress to reduce it to a four-hour day.”
The survey asks residents within the proper zip code to choose from four options.
The first is to keep the office open, “but with realigned weekday window service hours, based on actual office workload.” It goes on to explain that hours would be changed from eight to four hours each weekday, and Saturday window hours and access to delivery receptacles will not be impacted by the plan.
The second option is to conduct a discontinuance study for the office and provide retail and delivery service through a rural carrier.
The third choice is to conduct a discontinuance study for the office and “find a suitable alternative location operated by a contractor, usually at a local business,” that would offer stamps and flat rate products.
And the final option is to conduct a discontinuance study for the office and relocate P.O. Box service to a nearby office. The survey then offers a space for residents to fill in their preferred hours.
As recently happened in Hartford, the Postal Service did not reach out to many of the North Granville office’s customers.
“I’m in North Granville two miles from the post office, but I have a Whitehall address. What good are the letters?” asked town councilman Matt Rathbun, who owns Rathbun’s Maple Sugar House Restaurant. “They should be sending the survey to all the people in the area that use it. It’s a typical government thing; sometimes they don’t think.”
He said he was surprised to hear about the changes and letter, and he thought the North Granville office was a good location with plenty of parking. He said he ships all of his syrup out of there, and it would be an inconvenience if it closes.
The post office official above said the reduction should save the Postal Service a lot of money, through paying only a post master relief, instead of a full-fledged post master. The service recently relocated the post master who had been there for over 10 years.
Town Supervisor Matt Hicks, who was also surprised to hear of the changes, said he’s glad the Postal Service is looking for feedback.
“At least they didn’t just say this is what we’re doing–they’re looking for input,” he said.
As for an alternative location, Bob Schoonmaker, owner of Schoonys Country Market, said he would be willing to make room for a post office box in his store.
“If anybody from the post office wants to contact me about that, we’d be happy to talk,” Schoonmaker said, pointing out that most people work between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. His store is open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., giving people “ample time to get their mail” at a convenient location.
The post office official said that is a viable option, but it does have a catch.
“The thing with that is if anything happens for any reason and you close that business, you lose your post office,” the official said.
In order to communicate with area residents, the Postal Service will hold a meeting at the North Granville post office on Thursday, Oct. 9 at 1 p.m. to “answer questions and provide additional information and solicit input.”
“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,” officials said. Those who received the survey are asked to return it by Sept. 25.