published Monday, October 8th, 2012

Hours to be cut at Menlo, Lyerly post offices

IF YOU GO

* What: Public meetings on possible post office closings

* When: 2 p.m. Nov. 1 at the Post Office at 111 Alpine St., Lyerly; 4 p.m. Nov. 1 at the Post Office at 2951 State Highway 337, Menlo.

The process is under way in Chattooga County, Ga., to reduce the hours of post offices in Menlo and in Lyerly.

In Menlo, hours are to be reduced to six hours per day, while the Lyerly branch would be open only four hours per day.

The U.S. Postal Service plans to save money by cutting hours at small post offices around the country over the next two years.

In Chattooga, every P.O. box holder received a survey form that's due back by Oct. 18 and asks questions such as which hours during the day customers would like the post offices to stay open.

The survey also gives the option to switch to what U.S. Postal Service spokesman David Walton called a village post office.

"A village post office is located within an existing business ... and it's run by their employees," he said.

The Postal Service will decide what to do with the Chattooga branches after reviewing the survey results and getting input at public meetings to be held at each post office on Nov. 1.

Chattooga County Sole Commissioner Jason Winters plans to fight to keep the post offices open, noting that they serve companies that do business internationally, such as the Showa Best Glove factory in Menlo and Mohawk Industries in Lyerly.

"We're approaching it for not only the residents, but there's corporate [users]," Winters said.

Walton said the Postal Service decided to cut hours at about 13,000 post offices nationwide after getting resistance to an earlier plan to completely shut down 3,700 small post offices nationwide.

But the Postal Service must do something to reduce costs, he said.

"We're doing this is because of our dire financial situation," he said.

The Postal Service reported a $5.2 billion loss for the three months that ended June 30 this year. During the same period in 2011, the service lost $3.1 billion.

about Tim Omarzu...

Tim Omarzu covers education for the Times Free Press. Omarzu is a longtime journalist who has worked as a reporter and editor at daily and weekly newspapers in Michigan, Nevada and California.

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