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Meeting will discuss West Valley Post Office issues

WEST VALLEY — A public meeting has been scheduled to talk about what services West Valley residents would like their local post office to change.

Representatives from the United States Postal Service will be on hand at West Valley Central School at 5:30 p.m. on Jan. 31, to disclose and discuss the results of a survey that was mailed to West Valley residents, late last year.

Karen Mazurkiewicz, a spokesperson for the post office in the Western New York region, said post office officials hope to gather more input about residents’ feelings regarding proposed changes to their local office, which currently operates six days per week.

According to Mazurkiewicz, said that the USPS is looking into possibly modifying hours at approximately 14,000 post offices around the country. "Offices currently open approximately eight hours, per day, would be considered for two, four or six hours of operations, per day," she said. "In the case of West Valley, six hours, per day, is suggested."

In 2011, that local post office began examining how it could cut operating expenses, which continue to grow, every year.

“Meeting the needs of postal customers is, and will always be, a top priority. We continue to balance that by better aligning service options with customer demand and reducing the cost to serve,” Postmaster General and CEO Patrick Donahoe said.

One suggested change would keep local offices, including West Valley’s, in place, but retail window hours would be modified, to match customer use. Access to the retail lobby and to post office boxes, as well as the town’s ZIP code and community identity, would remain unchanged.

Affected communities were given four options, which include modifying operating hours to as few as four hours on selected days; providing mail service to residents and businesses by either rural carrier or a highway contract route; contracting with a local business to create a village post office or offering services at the nearest post office.

Survey research conducted by the Opinion Research Corporation last February showed that 54 percent of rural customers would prefer that the new solution maintain a local post office.

A voluntary early retirement incentive for the nation’s more than 21,000 non-executive postmasters was also announced.

Mazurkiewicz said that the local post office will collect input gathered from all community meetings, through September 2014, and make its final decisions, at that time.

More information about the proposal may be read at about.usps.com/news/electronic-press-kits/our-future-network/welcome.htm.

West Valley Central School is located at 5359 School St. in West Valley.
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