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Hours to be cut at Gravel Switch Post Office

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Window service will be reduced to four hours per day

By Stephen Lega

Around 20 people attended last week's meeting to learn what changes would be coming to the Gravel Switch Post Office.

Starting in January, the window at the Gravel Switch office will be open four hours a day, from 11:45 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. Monday through Friday. Saturday hours will remain the same, from 7:45 a.m. to 10:45.

"I don't like doing this anymore than anybody else," said Tommy Adkins, a manager of post office operations out of Lexington.

Adkins made the announcement about the changing hours during the Oct. 17 meeting at the Gravel Switch branch.

Adkins explained that the US Postal Service is cutting hours at tens of thousands of branches across the country in an effort to address some financial issues.

He said under current laws, the postal service is being required to pay $6 billion per year to prefund retirement programs.

"We are the only quasi-governmental agency that is required to do that," Adkins told the audience.

Technology and the economy have also affected the Postal Service as well, according to Adkins. As more and more people communicate and pay bills online, fewer stamps are being purchased, and the Postal Service is funded solely through postage sales. According to Adkins, window sales nationwide have declined by 27 percent since 2005.

"The internet has just about taken all our first-class business," he said.

Adkins also reported on the survey regarding the Gravel Switch Post Office. Out of 141 people, 115 or 82 percent were in favor of changing the hours at the post office, which is now open eight hours per day Monday through Friday.

While the window hours will be changing, he said he believed the lobby could remain open 24 hours to allow customers to have access to PO boxes. However, he did say he would need to check with the postal inspectors to see if any changes would be needed before that could happen.

Customers in attendance asked questions about the possibility of getting their old carrier back. Adkins said that is unlikely.

Adkins did say he would put in an order for a new American flag for the Gravel Switch branch, however.

Oct. 30 meetings in Loretto, Raywick

Two meetings have been scheduled in Marion County on Oct. 30.

At 1 p.m., postal officials will hold a meeting at the Loretto Post Office, and at 5 p.m., they will hold a meeting at the Raywick Post Office.

The Post Plan calls for reducing the hours at both of these branches to four hours per day.

Meetings have not yet been announced for the Bradfordsville and St. Mary Post Offices.