2011-09-22 / Front Page

Community Meeting Set For Proposed Post Office Closure

Wells Tannery residents urged to attend Sept. 29 meeting
By Chanin Rotz-Mountz

Wells Tannery residents are urged to attend a public meeting on Thursday, September 29, regarding the U.S. Postal Service’s suggested closure of the village's post office. Wells Tannery residents are urged to attend a public meeting on Thursday, September 29, regarding the U.S. Postal Service’s suggested closure of the village's post office. Frequently purchasing stamps, picking up packages and sending money orders, Deborah Remeikas enjoys the services as well as the convenience offered at the Wells Tannery Post Office located within short walking distance of her home along West Tannery Road. Unfortunately for the Remeikas family and their neighbors, a post office closure proposed by the United States Postal Service in July could bring an end to the village office.

According to Remeikas, closure of the post office, which over the years also served in the capacity of village store and gas station, would cause residents to drive 10 to15 minutes out of the way for services that are currently readily available right down the street.

“Packages not delivered to my house would be a hassle as would packing up my three children up to drive to another post office to send out packages,” stated Remeikas, who has resided in Wells Tannery for three-and-one-half years. “More than likely I would ask my husband to pick up stamps while he was in Mc- Connellsburg or try to use bill pay more often. I would more than likely get money orders from another source as well.”

Remeikas noted if the Postal Service moves forward with the closure of the post office, the outcome would be detrimental to many in the community.

“We have many elderly that cannot drive far or cannot drive at all. For these members of our community receiving postal services would be difficult,” she added.

As a result, Remeikas and fellow community members are being asked to rally for a meeting scheduled later this month by Wells Tannery Community Park President Byron Helsel. Helsel told the “News” he hopes the meeting set for Thursday, September 29, at 7 p.m. will make the community aware of the proposed closure of the Wells Tannery Post Office.

Having been in contact with postal service officials, Helsel has received a packet of information to distribute to residents, including necessary contact information for government representatives such as United States Congressman Bill Shuster.

“We’re having this meeting so no one can say down the road they weren’t fully aware of the situation,” stated Helsel.

Nancy Bull, constituent services representative for Congressman Shuster, previously told the “News” customers will be afforded 60 days notice of any proposed action by the postal service to pro- vide comments.

Customers may submit written comment to their local postmaster or officer in charge. In addition, some patrons may receive questionnaires soliciting comment, said Bull.

“After the comments are received and taken into account, any final determination to close a site must be made in writing and include findings covering all required study criteria. Customers must be notified 60 days before a closure takes place,” Bull stated at the time.

She said that within the first 30 days after a determination for office closure is made available to the public, any customer regularly served by that location can appeal the decision to the Postal Regulatory Commission.

In other postal service news, last Thursday the United States Post Office announced its intentions of “conducting an Area Mail Processing (AMP) study of mail processing facilities to determine whether consolidation of some operations is appropriate.”

In a letter to postal patrons, Postal Service Vice President of Consumer & Industry Affairs Susan M. LaChance stated, “The Postal Service is facing some of the most difficult challenges in its history. The current economic downturn and continued diversion of mail to the Internet has led to a dramatic 20 percent decline in mail volume since 2007.”

“The decline in mail volume has also meant a decline in postal revenue. As a result, today the Postal Service has not only more equipment, personnel and facilities than it needs to process a decreasing amount of mail, but also less revenue than it needs to cover the costs of that large processing and delivery network,” she said.

Pennsylvania mail processing facilities being studied through AMP are centers located in Altoona (located in Duncansville), Erie, Greensburg, Horsham, Lancaster, New Castle, Pittsburgh, Reading, Scranton, Southeastern Pa., and Williamsport. Members of the community will be asked to provide feedback and pose questions online regarding the AMP studies at: http://about.USPS.com/news/facility studies/welcome.htm.

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