USPS evaluating Riverside post office
by Elsie Hodnett
RIVERSIDE — The United States Postal Service is evaluating the Riverside post office under a review process known as the POST Plan.

According to a letter mailed to Riverside post office customers, the Postal Service is soliciting community input through a survey to determine the best course of action for providing postal service to the community.

“We deeply appreciate and want local postal service in Riverside, and hate to see our postal services being scaled back,” Mayor Rusty Jessup said. “We, as a city, would help in any way we can, but unfortunately this decision is not going to be up to us. We certainly hope the Postal Service will see value in continuing to stay in Riverside.”

Per the survey enclosed with the USPS letter, residents are asked to select the alternative they most prefer from the following:

• Keep the office open but with realigned weekday window service hours based on actual office workload. In the case of the Riverside post office, hours would be changed from 8 each weekday to 4 each weekday. Current Saturday window service hours will not change as a result of the POST Plan and access to delivery receptacles will not be impacted by POST Plan.

• Conduct a discontinuance study for the office and provide roadside mailbox delivery. Retail and delivery service would be provided through a rural carrier. Mail delivery points will be established or maintained and customers can purchase most postal services through the carrier or other alternate access points. For anyone who currently receives delivery service, POST Plan will not affect that service.

• Conduct a discontinuance study for the office and find a suitable alternative location operated by a contractor, usually at a local business. When businesses are found that meet the criteria, these establishments are contracted through the United States Postal Service and offer stamps and flat rate products with service hours generally more expansive than what the local post office may be able to offer.

• Conduct a discontinuance study for the office and relocate P.O. Box service to a nearby post office.

The survey also states, “In the event that window service hours are changed to four hours per weekday, please indicate your preferences for weekday window service hours. Please note that the ‘box up’ time (i.e. the time when mail is normally delivered to mail receptacles) will likely be affected by the range of hours selected.”

According to the USPS letter, after receiving the results of the survey, the Postal Service will examine the responses and, unless the community has a strong preference (more than 60 percent) for conducting a discontinuance study for the Riverside post office and establishing one of the additional sources of services described below, the Postal Service intends to maintain the Riverside post office with four hours of window service each weekday. Current Saturday window service hours and access to delivery receptacles will not change as a result of the POST Plan realignment of weekday window service hours.

Survey results must be submitted by Oct. 25. Responses may be entered into a publicly accessible record.

In addition to the survey, the Postal Service is holding a meeting at the Riverside Storm Shelter at 379 Depot St. at 6 p.m. Nov. 8 to answer questions and provide additional information about the POST Plan.

At the Nov. 8 meeting, local management will share the results of the survey, answer questions and solicit input regarding the time of day the post office will be open. Although the survey results will be known and shared, the Postal Service will not make a final decision regarding this office until after the public meeting. This will enable the Postal Service to obtain all community input and opinions, from both the surveys and the meeting, before making a decision.

According to the letter, the Postal Service is also seeking locally established businesses or organizations to serve as contractor-operated postal retail units. Anyone who is interested in operating a postal retail unit should visit http://about.usps.com/news/electronic-press-kits/expandedaccess/welcome.htm for additional information. Generally, these contractor-operated postal retail units will operate in combination with a community’s post office. However, selection of the third option in the attached survey indicates a preference of your post office to be studied for discontinuance with the establishment of a contractor-operated unit as a replacement for the post office.

Contact Elsie Hodnett at ehodnett@dailyhome.com.

© 2012