Press-Republican

Local News

January 13, 2013

Future uncertain: USPS continues downsizing efforts

(Continued)

If the reduced-hour option is chosen, a determination would be made on what new hours will be set.

VOICED TREPIDATION

In New Russia, several residents measured the lobby area of the postage-stamp sized post office and found it to be 12 by 4 feet. A small desk for patrons occupies 8 square feet.

And with the fact that the inward-opening door and frame displaces 3 ½ feet, there is not much room. If chairs are provided, at least an 18-inch aisle would be needed, which would allow for the placement of perhaps four seats, Bartley said. 

She was informed that the “workroom floor” area could also be utilized, though a wall separates it from the lobby. 

“We didn’t get a big turnout at the meetings we have held so far; sometimes only two or three people,” Buell told the Press-Republican.  

But about 45 citizens attended the session in the Elizabethtown Town Hall in November 2011, voicing their trepidation about the possible closure of the post office in the small New Russia hamlet.

LOSES MONEY

Dan Cronin, then manager of U.S. Postal Service Post Office Operations for the area from Glens Falls to Watertown, informed those at the 2011 meeting that the average annual loss at the New Russia facility was $20,000. 

Most of the costs associated with the post office revolve around salary, pensions and health-care benefits, he said. He attributed a regression in income to a decline in first-class mail volume, the paying of bills online and email. 

The quaint post office in New Russia, with its boxes with brass fittings and an oak counter, is located in a section of a larger building that dates back to the Civil War.

Through the early half of the 20th century, it housed an IGA market and gas station. 

ESSEX CO. SUPPORT

In 2011, Essex County Board of Supervisors unanimously passed a resolution opposing the possible closing of post offices in New Russia, North Hudson, Moriah Center, Schroon Lake and Keene Valley. 

It said mail services are vital to the residents’ good health, welfare and businesses and that shutting down local post offices would inconvenience the elderly, infirm and those unable to drive long distances.

Email Alvin Reiner at: 

rondackrambler@yahoo.com.

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