Concerned about the possible closing of their post office, more than twenty-five Lake Peekskill residents turned out in the snowy weather for a meeting with the Manager of Post Office Operations of the Westchester District, Neil Fitzpatrick.
Fitzpatrick explained that as part of cost saving measures, the US Postal Service was studying local branches. Based on workload and revenue, recommendations might be made to reduce window service by two, four or six hours. The Lake Peekskill Post Office serves 1119 customers, with 310 boxes and 809 route customers.
Earlier in the month, residents were sent surveys with four choices. Of the 1048 surveys sent out, 236 were returned. The overwhelming majority (205) favored a realignment of window hours, followed by ten respondents preferring roadside delivery. Two residents selected the option to move postal services to a local business, eleven wanted all services to be moved to a nearby post office and eight had no choice, but offered different suggestions or comments.
Going along with public sentiment, the postal service will reduce window service to six hours, and conduct a study to determine which hours would best serve the needs of the community.
“We are flexible,” said Fitzpatrick, adding that if the Putnam Valley Post Office opened at nine, it might be beneficial to have Lake Peekskill open at eight so both communities could be better served.
When asked if any jobs would be affected, Fitzpatrick said that they would have the same number of people working.
The route carriers, however, now pick up the pre-sorted mail from Mohegan Lake. Packages, other special mail, and post office box mail still goes to Lake Peekskill. No matter what the window hours, the outgoing mail, and other services will not be affected. Saturday hours will remain the same.
The Putnam Valley Post Office is not affected by this change.
Residents also expressed their concerns that post office boxes were only accessible to them during regular business hours, and suggested that a gate be placed between the room with the boxes and the window room, to allow for longer hours box customers. Fitzpatrick said that it was possible and that some branches had round the clock access to boxes for their customers. He added that this would be part of the study for the branch.
One resident wanted to know if it was “really on the back burner to close” the Lake Peekskill Post Office. Fitzpatrick responded with a resounding “No!”
The change in hours should take effect in late January or early February 2013.
By Barbara O’Hare