by nathan oster
Still in the midst of a financial crisis, the U.S. Postal Services (USPS) has called a public meeting to discuss the future of the Shell Post Office.
The meeting is set for 5 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 9 at Shell Hall.
A letter was recently circulated to customers served by the Shell post office. In it, the USPS outlined some of the options it may consider, including reduced hours as well as closure or relocation of the post office.
David Rupert, postal spokesman for the state of Wyoming, said similar types of meetings are taking place across the nation as the USPS seeks to resolve its financial problems.
Shell is one of 84 communities in Wyoming on the list, Rupert said. The Shell Post Office is current open eight hours a day Monday through Friday and another three hours on Saturdays.
Rupert said the USPS has already surveyed people served by the Shell Post Office, and that the meeting will be an opportunity for the USPS to both present information and listen to the input provided by its customers.
One option on the table would reduce the amount of time the post office is open to four hours each day. Saturdays would remain at three hours, Rupert said.
Another option is to close the post office and institute street delivery.
A third option, the “village post office” option, would be to close the post office and relocate postal services into an existing business that is open regular hours.
Rupert said that of the options outlined in the letter, the one that was “by far” the most preferred by survey respondents was the proposal to reduce the hours at the post office.
A senior postal manager will attend the Jan. 9 meeting to present more details about the survey results and to talk about timing issues with residents.
“It would be safe to say, I think, that no changes would occur until spring time, at the eariest,” said Rupert, adding that the USPS is proposing office hour reductions around the nation.
“Some are going from eight to six, some from eight four, some from eight to two,” he said.
Rupert emphasized that the USPS has made no decisions, and that the public meeting is a crucial component of the input-gathering phase.
“We want to hear from people,” he said, adding that, “All of this is in light of mounting losses” suffered by the USPS.