- Levan Post Office will remain open, but retail hours will be reduced
LEVAN POST OFFICE TO REDUCE HOURS • John Barclay, manager, Post Office Operations, addresses residents of Levan Town about the reduction of office hours at the Levan Post Office.
By Rebecca Dopp
The office hours will be reduced, but at least Levan Town will retain it's community post office.
In a move to keep the nation's smallest post offices open, the U.S. Postal Service announced in May 2012 that many offices would modify their retail window hours to match customer use.
Access to the PO Boxes will not change, but retail sales at the Levan Post Office will be limited to just four hours a day, Monday-Friday, and left unchanged on Saturday.
John Barclay, manager, Post Office Operations, told residents the reasons the USPS made this move.
"Because of their [USPS] financial situation that has evolved over the last 4-5 years, we're seeing declining revenues because of declining mail volumes, especially in our most important product which is 1st class mail," he said.
According to Barclay, the reason for the decline started in 2008 due to the economic downturn and with the growth of electronic communication. Since then, the USPS has been going through various plans to match the current workload with the expenses associated with that, the largest area being the workforce.
"We enjoyed a great growth rate from 1996 right up to 2006 and hit the peak of our employee compliment about that period of time," he said. "Since 2008, we've been restructuring, hubbing carriers in certain locations, downsizing, consolidating districts, etc."
"In an effort to keep our expenses down, where we didn't have to go out and restructure, and to keep the costs down to match that workload volume, we've had to adjust what we do," he said.
The USPS and Congress came up with the Post Office Structure Plan (POST Plan). In the plan, the Post Office and Congress agreed not to close any rural community post offices, but to restructure their retail hours.
Every post office was evaluated across the nation, including those run by contractors. If the amount of workload each had fell below 2 hours, then it became a 2 hour post office; between 2-4 hours, it became a 4 hour post office; between 4-6 hours, it became a 6 hour post office, and anything over 6 hours remained a full-time post office.
Community meetings were held and surveys were sent out to the residents in the affected areas. Levan Town had 365 surveys sent out and only 112 were returned as of the meeting January 22.
On the survey, four options were presented: 96% were favorable for realignment of hours; 3% chose a village post office option; and 1% made no selection; 0% favored a delivery option or nearby post office option.
A village post office is located within existing communities in a variety of locations, such as local retailers, libraries, town halls or government centers, and are run by the proprietor or respective management.
After reviewing the surveys, and taking into account Postal Service operational needs, the retail hours for Levan would most likely be Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon and Saturday, 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
"The blue box outside will keep the 3:15 p.m. pickup time", said Laurie Pace, Officer in Charge.
One of the alternatives for residents to get retail services, said Barclay, includes online services. The website is http://usps.com.
"It's really a convenient service," he said.
If any retail services are needed after hours, Nephi is the closest post office at 11 miles away. Gunnison is also an option.
Other post offices affected by the reduced hours include Mayfield, Annabella, Elsinore, Marysvale, Clawson, Emery, Fielding, and a few more yet to be implemented.
"It seems to have gone through seamlessly to the Postal Service," Barclay said. "I'm sure it's a change to the community."
Barclay said the USPS has until August 2014 to implement these reduced hours in rural communities. The POST Plan will have an annual review process. If the need for the post office in the community falls below 2 hours, it could become a 2 hour service, or increase it's hours if need be.
Barclay's advice for residents is to use their post office. When using online services, with a return zip code of Levan, the Levan Post Office would get credit. Mail coming in and going out of the Levan Post Office all gets credited into that workload evaluation.
"If you use it it could grow, if you don't use it, it could go," he said.