October 23, 2014

Post offices in Sterling, Omer targeted for hour reductions

Tim Barnum
The U.S. Postal Service plans to reduce the Omer Post Office's hours next year.
Posted

ARENAC COUNTY — An effort to reduce costs by the U.S. Postal Service will cut hours at the Omer and Sterling post offices starting next year.

Sabrina Todd, the Greater Michigan District Commun­ications spokesperson for the Postal Service, said the Sterling branch is slated to be reduced from eight to six hours of operation per day, while Omer will be reduced to four hours. She said public meetings will be held where public input will be heard on the hour reductions being scheduled.

“As far as Sterling is concerned, they’re going to have a community meeting on Aug. 12 to discuss their hours,” she said.

A notice shows that the Aug. 12 meeting will be held at the Deep River Township Hall at 5:30 p.m.

A meeting in Omer had not been scheduled as of June 23, Todd said. Meeting dates have to be posted 30 days in advance, she said. Information to be presented to the public will include the number of people who visit the post office each day, and the hours when office traffic is greatest, Todd said.

“They look at the hours as far as the people coming in — the foot traffic coming in,” she said. “They look at that to see when the most foot traffic comes in. They look at the revenue generated from that foot traffic.”

“If your revenue does not match your overhead, then we’re losing money,” Todd continued. “They’re going to talk about that. They’re going to make a suggestion to make this work for the post office.”

Todd said the Postal Service representatives generally take into account suggestions from the public as to the most convenient times to be open.

Omer Mayor Alice Sproule said she believes reducing the Omer Post Office from eight hours to four will affect people who do business there.

“Different people have different schedules, and if they’re going shopping or going to the doctor’s or something, they’ll stop at the post office and pick up their stamps or drop off their mail,” she said.

Last year, hours at the Alger Post Office were reduced from eight to six. The post office is open from 8-11 a.m. and 1-4 p.m. Moffatt Township Supervisor Lee Chard said that for the most part, there has not been much of a problem in adjusting to the hour change.

“They have a longer lunch hour now,” he said. “The only problem we’ve had is that people come to the post office and don’t realize that they have a longer lunch hour.”

Chard said the meeting regarding the change last year was held at a packed Moffatt Township Hall. In the end, Chard said most of the patrons were just pleased the branch was not closed.

“We’re very happy that it stayed open, and shifting the hours was an easy adjustment,” he said.

Sproule said although she believes cutting the hours in half will affect post office patrons, she said at least the local branch will not suffer the same fate as the Twining and Turner post offices, which were closed in 2011.

“It’s too bad, because all of these little towns are just getting cut back further and further,” she said. “I know when Turner lost their post office it was a tough thing for them. So we’re glad to still have a post office.”

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