Sherm Barger discusses the future of the Patoka Post Office.
Patoka Post Office to Not Close, But Possible Hour ReductionsThe Post Plan Coordinator for Zip Codes in the 624 and 628 area says the current plan of the Postal Service is not to close any small rural post offices. Instead, Shem Barger says they are proposing hour reductions. The news was greeted with a sigh of relief by about two dozen residents and postal employees at a Wednesday afternoon hearing to discuss the plans at the Patoka Post Office.
Barger says their goal is to not have an earlier cutoff to mail items. The biggest impact is probably going to be on P.O. box holders as far as the time of mail that will be available. If the postmaster hours are scooted back by a couple hours, obviously that's going to impact the time the box mail is going to be put up, but your carriers would still deliver to your house just like they always have", said Barger.
Barger says there are still questions on where the rural carriers will pick up their mail. They could be moved out of post offices with limited hours. Barger says unless Congress changes legislation, Saturday mail and post office hours will not change.
He notes stamp machines will not return to the post offices because of maintenance problems, but the post office is working on partnering with other businesses to increase hours. "We can put village post offices into certain business settings. So if someone in town is interested in wanting to be able to sell some of our products and cover up where we may not be open, you may be able to open extended hours and may be able to offer that to your community and maybe get people in the door because you offer that new service. That is an option that just came about", said Barger.
Barger says the plan is to reduce the hours of the Patoka Post Office from eight to six hours a day. Other area post offices also on the list for reduction to six hour days are Dix, Farina, Hoffman, Iuka, Kinmundy, Odin, Sandoval, Woodlawn and Xenia. Those scheduled to be reduced to four hour days are Alma, Bluford, Hoyleton, Irvington, Johnsonville, Keenes, Kell, Richview, St. Peter, Shobonier, Texico, Vernon, and Waltonville. The Huey Post Office would go from the current six hours a day to two hours. Barger says changes at post offices currently without a post master will begin shortly after the first of the year, with other cutbacks to offices with permanent post masters to be phased in over the next few years.
A number of other hearings are scheduled at post offices throughout the region. Barger will be at the Sandoval Post Office at 1:30 and the Walnut Hill Post Office at 3:30 Friday afternoon. Meetings are set for October 23rd at one pm at the Irvington Post Office and 3:30 at the Texico Post Office. A meeting is set at the Alma Post Office at one on November 7th. The Hoyleton Post Office meeting will be at one pm on November 14th and at the Iuka Post Office at one pm on November 16th.
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