Athens Review, Athens, Texas

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February 19, 2013

Tough choice coming

Poynor Post Office to consider various cuts

Athens — Citizens served by the Poynor Post Office are invited to meet at 6 p.m. on Feb. 25 to discuss the future of the facility.

The U.S. Postal Service is considering cutting the hours of operation for the Poynor location from eight hours to four.

Citizens have been mailed a questionnaire asking which of four options they prefer. They range from cutting the hours to eliminating the post office altogether.

“It’s yet to be decided,” Officer-in-Charge Chris DeChant said.  “That’s why were having this community meeting to get everybody’s input.”

The meeting will be at the Poynor Community Center at 12106 Lovers Lane, a short distance from the post office on U.S. Highway 175.

“This is a community thing. I hope people come, even if they don’t have a post office box” DeChant said.  “If they use our post office, they’re part of it, too.”

Poynor has had a post office since Dan S. Weaver was instituted as the first postmaster in 1902. In 2012, U.S. Postal Service Postmaster General Patrick K. Donahoe acknowledged that most small communities want to keep their post offices open. Donahoe wants to oblige them, but still cut back on the cost in order to trim some of the USPS’s huge deficit.

“We’ve listened to our customers in rural America, and we’ve heard them loud and clear. They want to keep their post office open,” Donahoe said in a statement. 

Poynor postal customers were recently sent a survey asking them if they would prefer to:

• keep the office open, but limit it to four hours on weekdays and a shorter time on Saturday;

• conduct a discontinuance study for the office and provide roadside mailbox delivery using a rural carrier;

• conduct a discontinuance study to find an alternative location, such as a local business, to provide mail service; or

• conduct a discontinuance study for the office and provide post office box service in another nearby post office.

The survey also asked residents their preference for which hours of operation they would like to see at post office, if the window service hours are cut to four.

DeChant guesses that 8 a.m. to noon. would be the choice of most customers.

The results of the survey will be revealed at the Feb. 25 meeting.

DeChant said the post office is currently changing the locks on its boxes from combination locks to key-operated. That will continue if the office remains open.

“We’ve got about 10 put in so far,”  DeChant said.

She would also like to see parcel holders so people can pick up larger pieces of mail in the off hours.

“There are a few accommodations we can do to make it better.” DeChant said.

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