U.S. Post Offices cutting back on hours

Posted: Thursday, August 15, 2002

FAIRBANKS (AP) -- In a nationwide cost-cutting effort, the U.S. Postal Service is cutting back on hours post offices will be open, including those in Alaska.

''We're cutting back everywhere,'' said Postal Service spokeswoman Nancy Cain Schmitt in Anchorage.

Schmitt said the Postal Service lost about $2 billion during its last fiscal year of operations and is projecting an additional $1.5 billion loss for this year.

Schmitt said the Anderson office is the first in Alaska with definite plans to cut hours. Starting Monday, the Anderson office, which is operated by a separate contractor, will likely be open from 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. on weekdays only, instead of its current hours of 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays and 10:30 a.m. to noon on Saturday.

The contract for the Anderson office ends Friday, Schmitt said, and bidders will make offers to operate the office based on the plan for shortened hours.

Schmitt said it is likely the Postal Service will cut hours for offices in several other small Alaska communities.

In Anderson, a community of about 650 people on the Parks Highway, Schmitt said residents can still use the post office in Clear Air Force Station or in Nenana if the shortened hours present too much of an inconvenience.

''Anderson is a very, very small community, and it's been really expensive to maintain postal service there,'' she said.

Anderson resident James Payne said he's upset about the shortened hours because many residents in the area already struggle to make it to the office during its current hours. Ending the Saturday hours is particularly troublesome for many people, Payne said.

''I feel like it's not justified,'' he said. ''They say they're trying to cut corners. Well, cut them in Anchorage.''

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