By Jeanne Sager
SULLIVAN COUNTY December 2, 2003 Through rain, sleet or snow the mail may be coming, but you might have to wait a few hours to pick it up these days.
With ever-increasing costs for the federally-run U.S. Postal System and a decrease in revenue with more people sending their messages via the Internet, post offices in the area will begin to show some of the effects of cost-cutting in the near future.
According to Tony Musso, media spokesperson for the White Plains district office of the postal service, hours at many smaller post offices across the country might be cut back to stave off another rate increase.
The postmaster general has made a commitment to the American public that hes not going to increase postage anytime soon, Musso said.
Instead, the postal service has begun talking with postmasters in Sullivan County and the surrounding area to determine the busiest and slowest times of the day.
Weve looked at overall revenue based on each office, Musso explained. Weve evaluated each office on revenue generated by hour and by day of the week.
The system hopes to shave some costs by closing the lobbies of the post offices when customers arent usually around.
Each office is individual, Musso said. Some offices die off at 4 p.m., some say business dies at the middle of the day.
There were talks at the beginning to eliminate Saturday hours, but Musso said postmasters in Sullivan County were concerned about the effects that could have.
Many, many people in Sullivan County only get to the post office on Saturday because theyre commuting to work or they dont get off until after 5, he noted.
So Saturday hours are expected to remain an option for Sullivan County postal customers.
But people should be prepared to see their local post office open later or close earlier, maybe even extend lunch by an hour or two.
The decisions, although spurred by the district offices, will all be made with the help of the postmasters, he said.
People in White Plains arent going to dictate to someone in Callicoon Center when to close [the postmasters] know their area, they know their customers, Musso said. Customer satisfaction is paramount, and if there has to be some tweaking of the hours, well do that.
Customers concerned about the changes are being directed to their postmaster to determine what the new hours are not all are in place yet.