(Clinton, KY) May 13, 2014 - Clinton residents once again face the prospect of losing the only mail drop in town besides the one at the local post office.
It has been reported that postal officials are once more counting pieces of mail in the big blue box located besides Byassee Drugs on West Clay Street.
From May 2009: Twice in the past few years, mail in the box has been counted on the theory that the time that postal employees spend emptying out the box once a day is too expensive for the USPS to support.
Both times the box has remained in place.
5/19/09 - THEY'RE BAAACK. We just heard that the USPS is again counting mail in the drop box here in Clinton. It seems that another mail survey will be conducted of pieces put into the box.
So - here's the word, Clintonians - if you slacked off on using the box - get back with it. Or it will be gone.
And the word to our postal officials obsessed with one lousy mailbox in a small town?
Don't you have something better to do??@!!!*?
For those of you who joined this show in progress - I am re-running the story from late December and early January below.
1/12/09: The USPS has decided not to remove the drop box- at least for the time being. Postal officials were caught off guard by the furor that resulted from their announcement that the box was coming out. No results of the box count that was supposed to take place in January were released.
Removal of drop boxes is going on all over the nation. The difference between removal of boxes in metro areas and the one in Clinton? One observer noted that in a metro area, there are lots of other boxes and lots of other business districts. In Clinton, there’s only one business district and one box right in the center.
Thanks to the USPS for allowing the box to remain - it takes a big agency to admit it's wrong and to change its mind.
If the post office doesn't want Clinton's business, one of the mail delivery landsharks cruising around the day we took the pictures for this story look ready to snatch up the chumps left behind when the US Postal Service sails away.
The QT word is that continued public comment that supports keeping the box is still helpful and indeed necessary. Even more important than comment is using the box.
12/30/08: The latest on the fate of our ONE AND ONLY mail drop box that exists away from the post office is the distressing belief from two separate sources that the USPS has already made up its mind and will resurvey only to prove they were right the first two times the survey was performed.
The survey of box usage was first performed in July, then again in November. The post office claims that the "holiday" survey skewed the results to greater volume. What was the big deal in November? Thanksgiving recipe exchanges? Belated Halloween greetings? Early
UPDATE: 12/24/08: REPRIEVE!!
I received a call yesterday afternoon on my voice mail from David Walton at USPS HQ in Louisville. The message said that the mail drop box will NOT be removed on December 27th. The box was surveyed "during the holidays" which meant greater usage. The resurvey in January will give a more accurate picture of whether the box is needed or not.
It is our understanding is that an average of 25 pieces of day automatically will get the box removed. (This box was averaging 50 pieces a day.) It is unclear why a box averaging 50 pieces of mail a day should even be on the list to be removed.
Credit for the reprieve goes to Johnny Byassee who got on the phone and called our congressional representatives and officials at the post office and those of you who called or emailed the post office. I emailed through the USPS.com website. (It was very frustrating - there is no "Complaints Department" on the site.
| Customer (MARY POTTER)
||12/22/2008 02:41 PM
|Please do not remove our mail drop box here in Clinton on West Clay Street. We need it here.
Dear MARY POTTER,
Thank you for contacting us regarding your not wanting a mail drop box removed.
The number of street collection boxes installed, their location, and the frequency of collection service depend primarily on the mailing patterns and the volume of mail generated by the individual community. As these and other local conditions alter, collection service is modified and adapted accordingly.
We rely upon our postmasters to make the decision on where these boxes should be deployed as s/he is in the best position to review their use and value to the community. We suggest that you contact your postmaster to express personal views on this matter.
Postmasters can be contacted by calling your local Post Office™. Based on your ZIP Code™, 42031, this is the:
CLINTON MAIN OFFICE
304 S WASHINGTON ST
CLINTON , KY 42031
Weekdays: 8:30 AM - 4:00 PM
Saturday: 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM
If I can be of assistance to you in the future, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
Thank you for choosing the United States Postal Service®.
With respect to Elizabeth S., removing the box was not our local post office's idea. The decision to survey came from up the chain of command and our postmaster doesn't have the power to overrule it and say it should stay.
Now it is up to all of us not to slack up on using the box if we want to keep it. The USPS is giving us a second chance and we have to take it. (Do you hear that, Clinton?)
It’s just another mail collection box in just another small town and the United States Postal Service is taking it away. Or that’s what their sign says.
Ask anyone in Clinton who has mailed a letter where the most convenient mailbox is and they won’t tell you at the Post Office on South Washington Street. They will tell you there’s a box on West Clay Street between the drug stores. It is also the only independent mail box in this little town of 1200.
According to pharmacist, Johnny Byassee of Byassee Drugs, his senior customers say that the box is a safer way to mail their letters.
“It’s safer to park in front of the box and walk up, pull the handle down and drop in your mail than try to use the drive through box at the post office is what seniors tell me.” Byassee said. “It’s a safety issue.”
Byassee is leading the effort to keep the box right where it is.
The issue, according to postal authorities, is cost.
Here’s their math:
It takes five minutes to empty the box multiplied by 303 delivery days which equals 1515 minutes which over a year adds up to 25 work hours. If a postal employee making $20 an hour empties the box, the cost for the box is $500 a year. Taking out lots of mail drop boxes will add up to significant savings.
The box may not end up scrapped, but in a more urban setting. Last year, the Postal Service spent two weeks studying the volume of mail in this box and came up with an average of 50 pieces a day. The box, say the postal authorities, needs to be in a higher traffic area. That’s just not enough to justify it staying in Clinton.
Local residents disagree. The convenience of the box for downtown businesses makes it a popular drop spot for the beauty salons, drug stores and insurance offices in the neighborhood. Residents run up to the box to drop their mail on weekends and holidays.
The feeling is that if the post office pulls out one box to save a very small amount of money, then services in any rural area will be cut to save money. Saturday service cancelled, rural mail carriers cut out completely. It's a slippery slope down to using the much more expensive and not as convenient private carriers.
The mailbox may be allowed to stay if enough people defend it. Sufficient complaints and inquiries may reverse the USPS decision.
If you would like to help save one little mailbox in one little West Kentucky town, then take a minute to do one or more of the following:
*Call Todd Hawks at the Bowling Green Postal Center (he’s Clinton’s supervisor)
1-270-843-5741 and tell him to leave Clinton’s one and only mailbox where it is.
Or contact our congressman and ask him to get involved.
Ed Whitfield (R) 1st CD (270) 885-8079,
(270) 487-9509, (270) 826-4180,
Just another mailbox. Just another small town. Just another lost service. Just another sign of the times-
But not if we can help it. . Left, Hickman Gazette Editor Tommy Kimbro gets a shot of the mailbox. He says he thinks that nothing can be done to change the Post Office's mind.