By Cesca Waterfield, Editor
The fate of Mt. Holly Post Office was the subject of a meeting held by the United States Postal Service as part of their “Post Plan” reorganization of post offices. About 20 people attended the meeting last week at the Glebe Point Clubhouse.
“This is not a discontinuance meeting,” Lisa Pearson, USPS Branch Manager from Lorton, emphasized. “We are not closing the post office. Right now we aren’t closing any post offices. We’re just looking to realign the hours at this point.”
With the rise of Internet and email use, post offices nationwide have seen a sharp decline in usage and a drop in revenue over the past several years. Last month, the USPS announced a loss of $15.9 billion for 2012. In an effort to cut costs, they established “Post Plan,” a comprehensive strategy to “right-size” the post office network.
Since then, 184 surveys were mailed to Mt. Holly residents and 112 were returned. Ninety percent of respondents asked for the post office to remain open with reduced hours; two percent selected closure of the current post office and establishing a village post office; two percent selected box service at a nearby post office; one percent opted for curbside delivery. Surveys were available at the meeting for those who had not completed one.
The percentage of Mt. Holly respondents who want their post office to remain open is higher than the national average, according to Pearson.
Lisa Mason, Postmaster of the Burgess post office, took notes on the meeting and distributed an informational flyer that stated, “retail hours for this location will likely be: Mon.-Fri. 12:30 – 4:30; Sat. 8:30 to 12:00.”
Saturday window service hours will not be cut and access to delivery receptacles will not change as a result of Post Plan realignment.
Most attendees expressed relief that, for now, the Mt. Holly post office doors remain open. “We will take into account all information received at this meeting before making a final decision,” the USPS flyer stated just above a list of “Alternative Options” including Hague, Montross and Oldhams post offices. No changes are expected until February.
In the event that plans change, one entrepreneur is ready to use his business as a village post office. Donald Hess is opening a gas station and convenience store at 3128 Erica Road. “We were very interested in getting postal service for our new store,” Hess said. “It wouldn’t be a money-maker, but it would be something that would bring people in.” Hess expects the store to open in early 2013.