KEITH WHITCOMB JR.
POWNAL -- A public meeting will be held at the North Pownal Post Office on Jan. 22 at 5 p.m., where customers can voice their opinions about the office's future.
The U.S. Postal Service has announced that the North Pownal location will remain under reduced hours unless more than 80 percent of respondents to a survey sent out indicate they wish to see another option taken. Those options include the U.S. Postal Service contracting out mail routes, contracting with a local business to act as a "Village Post Office," or consolidating offices into centralized hubs.
In October, U.S. Postal Service spokesman Tom Rizzo said surveys are sent to those using post offices where hours are slated to be reduced. Locally those include the East Arlington Post Office, the North Pownal, East Dorset, and Readsboro facilities. The surveys and meetings are part of a nationwide effort by the Postal Service to cut costs, as declines in revenues in recent years have led to high deficits.
Rizzo said of those who have responded to the various services, most people want to keep their local post office in operation, even if hours are reduced as they have been. Rizzo said the offices affected most are the ones in rural areas where there is not a high amount of foot traffic from the public.
According to a notice made public by the Postal Service on Dec. 12, the surveys and meetings are part of the POST Plan. According to the notice the meetings will be a chance for the Postal Service to provide information to the public on what is going on and to find out when the four hour windows of operation should be. The results of the survey will be shared then, but no decision made until after the meeting.
A full schedule of such meetings can be found at http://originabout.usps.com/news/electronicpess-kits/our-futurenetwork/post-plan/welcome.htm.