B y Jaime Thomas
Only five residents attended an informational meeting about the future of the North Granville Post Office Wednesday afternoon.
The meeting was intended to discuss the results of a survey the United States Postal Service sent out about a month ago to residents in the 12854 zip code.
“The Postal Service has established a review process for certain post offices known as the POST Plan. The North Granville Post Office was among the offices evaluated under the POST Plan criteria. The Postal Service is now soliciting community input through the enclosed survey to help determine the best course of action for providing postal services to your community,” the letter began.
At Wednesday’s meeting, Post Office Operations Manager Carol Capone explained the process further.
“A couple of years ago a few post offices looked into discontinuance with a survey. Congress said ‘No, you’re not going to be closed,’” she said, explaining that a number of lower-traffic post offices are being reduced to having 2, 4 or 6-hour days, “in lieu of closing completely.”
“Over the last 10 years, first-class mail has declined by 50 percent. Our postal network is too big for business. We’re trying to make a practical business decision and serve our customers at the same time,” she said.
Survey results, inconvenient meeting time
Hence the survey, which gave residents several options: realign hours, delivery only, a village post office option and a nearby post office option.
Out of the 176 customer surveys that were mailed out, 57 were returned; of these, 53 people opted for a realignment of hours, three made no selection and one person supported a village post office.
Capone explained the third option during the meeting.
“It’s a business within a community that takes on the business of a post office with post office boxes and selling stamps for parcels. The hours would be the hours of the store,” she said. But one resident expressed what seemed to be on a few others’ minds.
“But if the business goes out of business, you lose your post office,” he said. Capone said that is not necessarily the case, and if such an instance were to occur the Postal Service would find another host for the office.
One resident voiced his discontent with what he thought of as inconvenient timing for the meeting.
“You’re holding a meeting at 1 p.m. on a weekday afternoon—you’re guaranteeing that only a handful of people can come,” he said.
Capone responded that concerned residents had the surveys as an opportunity to make comments and give an opinion.
Future of post office
In order to keep the North Granville Post Office open into the future, Capone encouraged residents to keep their business contained. Rather than purchasing stamps elsewhere, for example, give orders directly to the clerk or mail them from the drop box inside the office.
“It’s very important to keep the revenue in your own community. Albany doesn’t need North Granville’s revenue,” she said.
She said several factors, such as a large area business that might need afternoon drop off, play into new hours that will be changed in the next few months. However, the Postal Service has identified likely retail hours for North Granville of Monday to Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon.
A contractor will be installing a time lock on the door so customers can still access their post office boxes out of the reduced business hours. No changes can be made until the time lock is installed, which Capone estimated might take two months.
Residents will be notified before the changes take place. The nearest post office to North Granville’s is Middle Granville, which is just under four miles away and Granville and Comstock, which are both 5.25 miles away.