Beaver Post Office to hold public meeting about hours

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

BEAVER -- The U.S. Postal Service is seeking community input on the subject of reducing service hours at the Beaver Post Office in the near future. A meeting has been set for Thursday, Oct. 24 at 5:30 p.m. at the Beaver Community Center.

Prior to the meeting, the USPS will send out written surveys to postal patrons in the 72631 and 72613 zip codes, seeking responses. They will then share the findings of the surveys at the public meeting, take questions and provide further information.

Those who do not receive a survey in the mail by Oct. 3 can obtain one at the post office.

A final decision will be made sometime after the public meeting.

The USPS, in implementing what it calls its POST plan, has come up with four options for Beaver Post Office patrons.

The first is to keep the office open, based on "actual office workload," which it says means open hours would be reduced from eight to two per day. It would also keep its Saturday hours. Roadside delivery would not be affected.

The second option would be to conduct a "discontinuance study" for the office and offer only roadside mailbox delivery. Retail and delivery service would be provided by a rural carrier. Mail delivery points would be established, and customers could purchase most postal services through the carrier or "other alternate access points."

The third option is to conduct the discontinuance study and find an alternate location, "operated by a contractor, usually a local business" to sell stamps and flat rate products. The advantage of this option is the possibility of having extended hours. The disadvantage for Beaver, however, is that it has only three operating "storefront" businesses: the pet boarding service, the town's RV park (which is not open year-round) and the Beaver Town Inn. Whether these businesses would be willing to take on postal services and can meet the postal service's criteria remains to be seen.

The last option is to conduct the discontinuance study and provide post office box service and route delivery from another nearby post office, which would most likely be the Holiday Island Post Office.

The Postal Service says it plans to implement the first option "unless the community has a strong preference (more than 60 percent) for conducting a discontinuance study ... and establishing one of the additional sources of services."

At the public meeting, the Postal Service will also seek input on people's preferences for which hours the Beaver Post Office will be open if the community opts to stay with the plan to be open two hours a day.

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