2013-01-23 / Front Page

Waterfall Post Office To Get Reduced Hours

Over 40 in attendance at public meeting
By Chanin Rotz-Mountz

NEWS EDITOR

The United States Postal Service is compromising with local patrons.

Two years after hosting meetings and discussing possible closures of post offices nationwide that generate low volumes of work, the United States Congress intervened on behalf of affected communities to stop the closure process. The intervention resulted in the proposed adjustment of window hours, which will likely get under way in Waterfall in the coming weeks.

At a public meeting at Center Community Building last Thursday evening, over 40 members of the public convened to hear about the future of the Waterfall Post Office. Among those on hand to hear from Joe Scherder, post office operations manager from the Pittsburgh area, were several local carriers, retired postmistress Linda Earley and Sue Rosenberry, who currently oversees daily operations of the rural, northern Fulton County post office.

Scherder applauded the community for not only their participation at the January 17 meeting but for having the best overall return on surveys he has seen to date. A handout provided by Scherder indicates that of the 202 customer surveys mailed regarding postal operations, 110 were returned. Several additional surveys were completed and turned in at the public meeting.

The surveys revealed 96 individuals preferred a realignment of window hours. One individual asked for the option of having rural delivery to their home, while one additional customer requested that a village post office be established at a nearby business.

Yet another person asked to get their mail at a nearby post office,

Scherder noted. Options in the district would be Robertsdale approximately 5.9 miles away, Wood at 6.3 miles and Wells Tannery at 8.1 miles. The nearby Hustontown post office would not be an option for Waterfall patrons as it is located in a different postal district.

As a result of the “survey’s findings as well as taking into account postal service operational needs,” Scherder stated it is likely window hours in Waterfall will be altered to 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, with a lunch break from noon to 1 p.m. Saturdays could be 9 a.m. to noon or remain at the current hours of 8 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Scherder said that generally the changeover in window hours could take place as early as six weeks. Additional options available to Waterfall could include a 24-hour access lobby, electronic time locks or a parcel lock box for individuals.

Husband and wife Bob and Patty Brillon, who had initial concerns about a possible closure, both took time to comment during the question and answer session. Bob Brillon pointed out the logistic flaws in travelling from their home up the mountain to Robertsdale, and wife Patty alluded to mischief in the area that could take place after erecting a mailbox in comparison to using a post office box. Patty Brillon stated she didn’t feel safe having a mailboxalongaaruraldelivery route approximately 1.2 miles from their home.

Waterfall resident Rand Pas called the area a “bedroom community” and referenced commute time and delays in coming home in the evenings. Pas said changes in window hours wouldn’t be a problem for retired folk but could “be a hardship” for others.

Scherder concluded that the Postal Service is trying to stay in Waterfall and other rural communities while also sustaining a future for itself.

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