On Tuesday, Oct. 23, twelve people gathered in the Cavendish Post Office to learn about the results of the POST survey, which was mailed to Cavendish postal customers in September.
Customer visits to village post offices have been significantly declining across the country-visits have dropped from 1.2 billion in 2005 to .93 billion in 2011. With the decline of First-Class Mail volumes and increased alternate access to postal services through usps.com and more than 70,000 locations, the Postal Service is studying its retail network of Post Offices to find cost savings in order to return to financial stability.
After feedback from customers and communities, the Postal Service has developed a new path that would keep local Post Offices open, but modify existing operating hours to reflect actual demand. Customers would retain access to lobby and P.O. Boxes as well as their ZIP Code and community identity. USPS Fact Sheet New Strategy Preserves Post Offices in Rural America
The US Postal Service has started this process by first looking at reducing hours at post offices that had vacant postmaster positions.
The Cavendish Post Office has been without a postmaster for the last four and a half years. Note that the Proctorsville Post Office does have a permanent postmaster, so will not be studied for reduction in service until 2014.
Of the 356 surveys distributed to Cavendish postal users in September, 129 (36%) were returned. There was an overwhelming response-99 respondents (77%)-to keep the post office open with reduced service hours. Eleven (9%) respondents opted for using a nearby post office, ten (8%) had no preference, seven (5%) preferred a rural delivery option, and 2 (2%) wanted another post office location in the village.
After reviewing the surveys that were returned, and taking into account Postal Service operational needs, window service hours for Cavendish will most likely be: Monday-Friday 7:30-9:30 am and 3-5 pm and 7-10 am on Saturday. Post office box availability will continue to remain the same (7:30-5) during the week and on Saturday.
Mail pick up will not be impacted by the change. Also not impacted are the hours of rural carriers. However, it is important to note that while these carriers hours will not change, Amy Skalki, the acting Cavendish postmaster, will not be available to help sort the rural route mail, so it is possible that on some days, the mail to rural route boxes will be delivered later than currently.
The date for changes in window service is most likely sometime in January.
The impact of the changes will be evaluated on a yearly basis and adjustments will be made accordingly.