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Chase Mills residents sent survey on future of their post office

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CHASE MILLS - Residents of this small hamlet in the town of Louisville received letters last week from the U.S. Postal Service hinting that their post office may be closed or forced to shorten its hours.

In a letter from Post Office Review Coordinator Nadine Tremblay, citizens were asked to complete a survey that could help decide the future of their post office.

“After receiving the results of this survey, the Postal Service will examine the responses and, unless the community has a strong preference (more than 60 percent) for conducting a discontinuance study for the Chase Mills Post Office and establishing one of the additional services..., the Postal Services intends to maintain the Chase Mills Post Office with four hours of window service each weekday,” Ms. Tremblay wrote, adding that Saturday hours would remain unchanged.

“If they don’t get a 60 percent return on these they’ll decide without reading the survey,” Town Clerk Joanne Cameron, a resident of the hamlet of Chase Mills, said.

Chase Mills is one of a number of post offices in the region that is slated to have its hours reduced in the coming months.

Louisville Town Councilman Daniel O’Keefe, who also resides in Chase Mills, suggested possibly relocating the post office to the municipal building. “We want the post office to remain open,” he said.

Town Supervisor Larry R. Legault said that was an option worth considering.

“I think that’s something we could look at,” he said, adding he’ll write a letter to the U.S. Postal Service letting them know the town would be willing to work with them.

While that sounds like a good idea on paper, Town Councilman Roy “Slim” Beshaw said it’s not quite that simple.

“The only way we could get the post office is if we got a zip code,” he said.

Ms. Cameron said the idea of Louisville having its own zip code is something that residents have talked about for years, and Mr. O’Keefe noted that if the post office in Chase Mills were to close that would make a zip code available.

“It’s unfortunate that they’re talking about cutting the hours. If you cut the hours, people will have to make a special trip to get their mail and if they’re working they might not be able to get their mail at all,” Mr. Beshaw said.

Mr. Legault said reducing hours at the post office is just another example of being unfairly punished for living in a rural area.

“It’s unfortunate that small rural communities are the ones who have to suffer when they make cuts,” he said.

U.S. Postal Service New York State Northeast Area Manager Maureen P. Marion noted the residents of Chase Mills are not alone, noting there are 13,000 post offices across the nation that will see hour reductions.

“We have done some work to evaluate individual workloads,” she said, adding these offices will see their hours reduced to either six, four or two hours per day.

“We’ve identified those offices that give us an opportunity to cut down on costs,” she said. “Different offices will see different changes and some offices will see no changes at all.”

The survey sent to town of Louisville residents served by the Chase Mills post office offers four options:.

1) Keep the office open, but with realigned weekday window service hours, based on actual office workload. In the case of the Chase Mills Post Office, hours would be changed from 7.75 hours each weekday to 4 hours each weekday. Current Saturday window service hours will not change as a result of POST Plan and access to your delivery receptacles will not be impacted by POST Plan.

2) 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 alternate access points. If you currently receive delivery service, POST Plan will not affect that service.

3) 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 the United States Postal Service and offer stamps and flat rate products with service hours generally more expansive than what the local Post Office may be able to offer.”

4) Conduct a discontinuance study for the office and relocate P.O. Box service to a nearby post office.”

The second portion of the survey asks residents what their preferred hours would be should the U.S. Postal service opt to reduce the office’s hours down to 4 hours per day.

The deadline to return surveys and or comments is Dec. 28.

Officials from the postal service will be in Chase Mills at 12:30 p.m. Jan. 11 for a public meeting in the post office lobby.

“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,” Ms. Tremblay wrote. “This will enable the Postal Service to obtain all community input and opinions, from both the surveys and the meeting, before making a final decision.”

Other post offices in St. Lawrence and Franklin counties included on the list for reduced hours include Parishville, Pyrites, Raymondville, Rensselaer Falls, Richville, South Colton, Star Lake, Winthrop, Cranberry Lake, Nicholville, North Lawrence, Piercefield, Bombay, Brushton, Fort Covington, Dickinson Center, Moira, St. Regis Falls, Brasher Falls, Brier Hill, Chippewa Bay, Colton, DeKalb Junction, DePeyster, Edwards, Fine, Hammond, Hannawa Falls, Helena, Lisbon, Madrid and Morristown.

While many of the reductions are from eight to four hours, some are being reduced to six hours per day, while others are being cut all the way down to two hours per day.

A complete listing of post office reductions is included in the link below.

On the web:

http://about.usps.com/news/electronic-press-kits/our-future-network/assets/pdf/postplan-affected-post-offices-120509.pdf

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