The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.
by Shirley Linder, Quill Editor
Sixty-five interested community residents met at the Raritan Opera House on Thursday, October 6th to hear what representatives from the post office system had to say about the closing of the Raritan Post Office. The representative said this was the largest group so far they had spoken to.
There are a total of 300 distribution centers and 3,700 post offices with 27 in the 614 district being evaluated.
Smithshire Post Office and Carman Post Office are included in this number. Officials were meeting with Smithshire residents following the Raritan meeting and Carman does not have a meeting with representatives set yet.
The criteria for evaluation are revenue yearly under $27,500 and post masters have a work load of 2 hours or less.
Residents were assured the postal department is not targeting rural area post offices as there are 100,000 customers in the Chicago area which are under review also.
Should Raritan Post Office close the Stronghurst Post Office will be in charge of their mail and the rural carrier for Stronghurst will be making the deliveries.
Residents will be able to receive their mail via rural boxes at their home, a village post office, or a CDU cluster of boxes that would need to be placed on public property. The decision to which is up to the post office headquarters.
Rural boxes may be placed at the home if the home is on an established carrier route.
A village post office would be at an existing business that would need to provide a place and person to service it and also sign a contract with the postal system.
CDU boxes would consist of a cluster of individual boxes with each resident having a key to a box to obtain their mail. There would be 2 large boxes so if the customer received a large package it would be placed in that box and the key put in the individual's box.
It was also learned the village will continue to use their same zip code and it will probably be February or March before a final decision is handed down as to the closure.
Raritan State Bank spends $65,000 a year mailing 160,000 pieces of mail for all three of their bank locations at the Raritan Post Office, but when the representatives were questioned as to why this amount was not figured in the total revenue for the post office they were told because the bank uses metered mail and only walk-in revenue was considered.
Jim Blender asked what Raritan could do to keep their post office and was told to continue to be pro active, fill out all the surveys, and write letters.
The feeling of frustration was in the air as the meeting ended as no one wants to lose their post office.