Several area rural post offices have survived proposed budget cuts but will operate on reduced hours.
The U.S. Postal Service made public a plan Wednesday to cut costs but maintain postal services in smaller communities across the United States, including several in Ohio and West Virginia.
According to a press release issued Wednesday afternoon, 14 rural post offices in Jefferson County will see their operational hours reduced after Tuesday.
The release stated the post offices in Adena, Amsterdam, Bergholz, Brilliant and Smithfield will reduce their operations from eight hours to six hours a day.
The post offices in East Springfield, Empire, Hammondsville, Irondale, Mount Pleasant, Stratton, Tiltonsville and Yorkville will reduce operating hours from eight to four a day.
And, the Wolf Run post office will reduce hours from four to two a day.
Rural post offices affected in Brooke County include Beech Bottom, Bethany, Colliers and Windsor Heights, where daily hours will be reduced from eight to four.
The Newell post office in Hancock County will be reduced from eight hours to four hours daily operations, while the New Manchester post office will see its hours reduced from eight to six hours a day.
Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe said the plan would keep the existing post office in place, but with modified retail window hours to match customer use. Access to the retail lobby and to post office boxes would remain unchanged, and the town's ZIP code and community identity would be retained.
"Meeting the needs of postal customers is, and will always be, a top priority. We continue to balance that by better aligning service options with customer demand and reducing the cost to serve," said Donahoe in the Wednesday afternoon statement.
"With that said, we've listened to our customers in rural America and we've heard them loud and clear - they want to keep their post office open. We believe today's announcement will serve our customers' needs and allow us to achieve real savings to help the Postal Service return to long-term financial stability," Donahoe added.
The new strategy would be implemented during a two-year, multi-phased approach and would not be completed until September 2014. Once implementation is completed, the Postal Service estimates savings of a half billion dollars annually.
According to the post office press release, the new plan complements existing alternatives, which include;
Providing mail delivery service to residents and businesses in the affected community by either rural carrier or highway contract route;
Contracting with a local business to create a village post office; and
Offering service from a nearby post office.
A voluntary early retirement incentive for the nation's more than 21,000 non-executive postmasters also was announced.
The agency also will announce new changes next week involving its proposal to close up to 252 mail processing centers.