Sutersville residents asked for opinions on future of post office
Sutersville area residents will get to voice their opinion on the fate of the tiny borough's post office — including whether it should remain open with reduced hours for weekday window service or if postal services should be moved to a nearby post office or at a local store.
The U.S. Postal Service plans to hold a public meeting at 6 p.m. Sept. 17 at the Sutersville Volunteer Fire Department at 320 Municipal Ave., to answer questions about the future of postal operations in Sutersville.
Postal Service management will share the results of the survey recently mailed to customers of the Sutersville post office, which serves about 500 residences, said Tad Kelley, a Postal Service spokesman in Pittsburgh.
That survey asks residents if they want to keep the window service available, but at just four hours each weekday, rather than eight. Access to the post office boxes in the lobby will not change.
Postal Service management also will seek the public's opinion on when people want the window service to be available for customers to buy stamps, mail packages and other services. If the post office is closed, deliveries could be made by rural carriers who could sell stamps and provide other postal services.
The Sutersville post office is one of about 13,000 small post offices nationwide that could remain open less than eight hours a weekday. The operating hours of 7,397 post offices have been slashed since last October, under a plan to cut costs and align the window service to the amount of customer activity at each post office.
Among other area post offices where the eight-hour a weekday window service may be cut and new proposed weekday hours could start are: Herminie, Madison, Rillton and Yukon, which could be cut to six hours; Hutchinson and Wyano, four hours; and Jacobs Creek, where the service could be cut to two hours per weekday.
The Sutersville post office would continue the same amount of Saturday hours, unless 60 percent of the respondents favor closing the office and opening a “village” post office in a store, the Postal Service said. Local businesses or organizations are being sought to operate postal retail units for a contracted price.
Since last October, 258 new village post offices have been established nationwide, the Postal Service said.
Colleen Kudlik, owner of Miller's Place in Sutersville, the only convenience store in town, said she wants to learn more about operating a “village” post office in her Second Avenue store.
“I would definitely be interested, depending on the financial arrangements,” said Kudlik, who has operated the store for 17 years.
Kudlik, a Sewickley Township resident, said she is not concerned about the reduction in hours at the local post office.
“It doesn't really bother me,” Kudlik said.
Some Sutersville residents were not concerned about the possibility of a reduction in the hours of window service as long as they continued to receive their mail.
“I don't think it really matters, as long I get my mail. It's O.K. with me,” said Rudy Pascoe of Sutersville.
Frank Rocco of Sutersville also said he is not concerned about a reduction in hours for window services.
“I doesn't effect me either way. I don't usually use it,” Rocco said.
The Sutersville post office is operating under a postal service strategy proposed in May 2012 to reduce costs by cutting window service hours.
The Postal Service has a net loss of $3.9 billion for the first nine months of the fiscal year, which began Oct. 1, 2012. For the three-month quarter that ended June 20, the Postal Service lost $740 million.
“I never thought the post office would have as many problems as it has. Why isn't the government helping them,” Pascoes said.
Joe Napsha is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-5252 or firstname.lastname@example.org.