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Everson post office may have hours cut

| Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013, 12:02 a.m.

In a few weeks, residents of Everson will learn the fate of their post office when Postal Service officials review the results of a Jan. 17 public input meeting and a recent mailed survey.

Operations Manager William Battles Jr. led the meeting, addressing the Postal Service's concerns with operations in the small town and its post office.

“The U.S. Postal Service is facing serious financial challenges,” Battles said, adding that millions are lost daily because of increased Internet usage and people turning to other package mailing options.

“There are more than 40 million transactions that are gone, and they are not coming back,” he said.

A survey was sent to 148 Everson residents listing several options: realignment of hours; delivery to homes; starting a village post office; or having the residents go to a neighboring post office in either Scottdale or Alverton.

Although 48 percent opted for home delivery, a two-hour operating time was mentioned as the prime consideration for the existing post office.

“We're looking at a two-hour operating time for the window in the post office being open,” Battles said, adding that the open hours would be 9 to 11 a.m. Monday through Friday and 8 to 11:30 a.m. on Saturdays.

Battles added that the post office could possibly remain open until 5 p.m., with the lobby then automatically locking with a new time lock. Since parking at the post office has been a long, ongoing problem, many residents asked why they could not simply have home delivery of their mail.

“People in Everson are getting older,” Linda Gigliotti said. “It's 2013. A postal server could take two to three hours a day and deliver the mail to everyone's home and have it over and done with.”

The lack of handicapped parking at the post office also was addressed.

Battles said he would tell the main offices of the residents' concerns.

Others were concerned about the small window of open hours, saying that with their work schedules they would not be able to make it to the post office between 9 and 11 in the morning.

“Everything that you are telling me is input that I will take back with me,” Battles said.

Asked if the post office was closed or if the hours were reduced would Everson still maintain its ZIP code, Battles assured residents that it would.

Borough Council President Mike Banaszak thanked the crowd of 60-plus for attending, noting the ideal solution would be a compromise.

“I would like to see the best of both worlds happen here,” Banaszak said. “I would like to see the Everson Post Office remain open — even if it is with reduced hours — and also see home delivery.”

Banaszak said he is aware of the lack of handicapped parking in a borough with a high rate of senior citizens, that it has been a problem he and council have tried to rectify.

“It's difficult for the senior citizens to get to the post office,” Banaszak said. “There is no handicapped parking and borough council has contacted PennDOT about this, only to be told that it is a Postal Service issue and not up to them. We have been told that there will not be any parking at all on Brown Street. We have tried.”

Banaszak said he is also worried about the town losing its ZIP code.

“That is a concern to me. We need our ZIP code for assistance or for grants, and if we lose it, it will be a death knell for this town,” he said.

Battles said residents will be informed by mail on the decision.

Marilyn Forbes is a freelance writer.