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Scott Tinsley, post office operations representative, explains the options available for the Pleasant Hill Post Office at a public meeting.

The Pleasant Hill Post Office is the news center of the town. It is where you go to find out who is sick or better, what’s going on in the community, and any other tidbit you might find out from the bulletin board or a passing neighbor. Therefore it was with trepidation that its aficionados received a notification of a public meeting to be held to discuss the fate of the PH Post Office. A survey was conducted giving four possible options that the Postal Service was considering, which included discontinuance studies for the post office, shortening the hours, and offering other venues for postal services.

Scott Tinsley and Jeremiah Manus met with over 50 interested citizens to discuss the results. Tinsley began the public meeting by explaining that the US Postal Service recognizes that a post office is vital to any community, but the Postal Service lost $15.7 billion last year. Since 2006, use of postal services has steadily declined due to increased use of email, smart phones, texting, twittering, etc. No tax dollars support the Postal Service. It is supposed to be funded solely from the sale of its products. They are aggressively seeking more package delivery possibilities and have contracted with FedEx and UPS for those services, especially in rural areas like Pleasant Hill.

Facing today’s reality however, they have developed a POST Plan that calls for closing of 15,000 small post offices, consolidating some districts, and reducing the hours of operation to 2-hour, 4-hour, or 6-hour window availability depending on the business conducted. Rural carriers can mail packages and sell money orders to their customers. Over 320 customer surveys were mailed to PH Post Office box holders with 143 completed and returned. Overwhelmingly, 87% opted for keeping the post office open with realignment of hours. Tinsley gave several possible options for weekday window service retail hours. Access to post office boxes will continue to cover 24 hours. Many of the audience testified to the importance of the Pleasant Hill Post Office and gave suggestions of times that might accommodate not only the retirees in the community but also make postal services available to those who are employed. Total Saturday window service hours will not be reduced at this time.  For additional information, Tinsley suggested people go to www.usps.com/ourfuturenetwork and click on the link under “Preserving Post Offices.”

For those people in Pleasant Hill who get their mail delivered to their home, their address is Crossville if they live east of Browntown Rd., and Sparta, if they live west of that road. This often causes confusion among the FedEx and UPS delivery vans unless they are familiar with Pleasant Hill. Some people at the meeting expressed consternation with the loss of packages not to mention the expense of money not refunded when delivery was supposedly made. They suspect that their goods are being enjoyed by others in Crossville or Sparta. Tinsley noted that arrangements could be made with those post offices to have packages delivered to the door even if one has a PO box in Pleasant Hill. There also is often a “catch-22” situation when ordering merchandise online. Most will not accept a post office box for delivery even if the vans are probably delivering to the post office, especially in rural areas. It will be around 30 days before the PH Post Office patrons will be notified as to the decision made for window service hours. But for the present, we can all rest more easily in knowing that our beloved post office will remain part of our daily rounds.

This week in Pleasant Hill

Tuesday, April 1 hike — meet at 10 a.m. in PH Community Church parking lot to carpool to Panther Branch Trail, Frozen Head State Park. Call 277-3518, ext. 103.

Wednesday and Friday free tax preparation in PH Community House, call 277-3096 for appointment. Service will be available until April 11.

Saturday, April 5, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Sunday, April 6, 2–4 p.m., Trash & Treasure Sale in Blue Barn off of Lake Rd. in Pleasant Hill. Call 277-5877.