FALLS CITY -- The U.S. Postal Service has scheduled a public hearing in March to discuss plans to reduce hours at Falls City's post office.
Falls City and Rickreall's post offices were targeted for service counter hours reductions as part of a plan to cut USPS costs announced in May 2012.
About 13,000 post offices nationwide are slated for reduced hours. Under the proposal, the retail counter hours at Falls City's post office would be reduced from seven hours each weekday to four. A similar reduction has been proposed for Rickreall's post office, but a public hearing hasn't been announced yet.
Falls City residents recently were sent surveys to be filled out prior to the public hearing. The survey outlines the hours reduction and three other options:
* Close the office and create what is called a "Village Post Office," a location, usually in a local business, where customers could purchase stamps and flat-rate products.
* Close the office and provide roadside mailbox delivery. With this option, retail and delivery services would be offered by a rural carrier.
* Close the office and have service offered at a nearby post office location.
Peter Hass, a USPS spokesman, said the reduction in hours is in response to mail volume declining and, with it, the agency's revenue. USPS receives no tax dollars and must operate on income made delivering mail, which has declined 25 percent in the last four years, he said.
"As the mail volume continues to decline, we have to make changes to maintain service across the country," Hass said.
Those wishing to respond to the survey must do so by Feb. 19. The public hearing is scheduled for March 5 at the Falls City Community Center.
Hass said the hearing is an opportunity for people to learn about the situation and provide input on what they think is the best possible option.
"We do value customer input on the process," Hass said. "That's why we do surveys and public hearings about the changes before they take place."
Falls City Administrator Amber Mathiesen also is encouraging citizens to get involved through the survey and public hearing. Mathiesen said there is a fear a reduction in hours could led to closure if the USPS deems that the office isn't being used enough. Questions such as that could be answered at the hearing, she said.
"It's an important service for our community and it's always best to hear straight from the service provider what is going on," she said.
Public hearing on reducing hours at Falls City's post office.
March 5, 5 p.m.
Falls City Community Center, 320 N. Main St.
For more information:
www.usps.com/news and click on the "Our future network" link on the right side of the page.