At tiny Lisbon post office, wait isn't for the mail WEST COUNTY -- Clarksville * Highland * Glenelg * Lisbon


Some people complain about postal service employees who disappear in the back room for extended periods, allowing lines and frustrations to grow.

That can't happen in the Lisbon post office. There is no back room.

Residents of Lisbon have been waiting for at least two years now for the U.S. Postal Service to build a new post office. It appears they will have to go right on waiting.

The postal service is planning to review the need for a new building planned for the corner of Frederick Road and Hopkins Alley.

Patrons of the one-room building located two doors west on Frederick Road say all one has to do is do business there to see the need.

"We need one bad," said Mrs. Hazel Esworthy, who lives across the street from the facility. "There's just so many people that use it. It's busy all the time, someone coming and going."

The re-evaluation of real estate projects is part of a cost-cutting effort undertaken by Postmaster General Marvin Runyon since he took over the service in July, said Bob Novak, spokesman for the service's Baltimore District.

"They were looking at the possibility of having an office, a new facility, next year, by the summer of 1993," but all real estate projects were put on hold shortly after Mr. Runyon took office, Mr. Novak said.

Mr. Novak would not estimate what the cost of a new office would be. The necessity of the project will be reviewed by officials in Postal Service headquarters in Washington. "If funding is approved, we really don't have an idea of when it would be continued," Mr. Novak said.

The cost-cutting is to eliminate an anticipated $2 billion deficit next year and hold down the postage rate, which was expected to increase as much as a nickel in 1994.

Meanwhile, postal employees will continue to bump their elbows in the tiny office in Lisbon, which has been eligible for an upgrade for two years because of the amount of business it does.

"For staging and dispatching the mail, it's very difficult. You need more room for the proper equipment," said David Yontz, postmaster of the Lisbon office. Separating mail and preparing it to be shipped out is made faster and easier with such things as a bag rack, hung out of the way, he explained.

A new office would have room for post-office boxes and yes, even a back room, where things such as a safe and places to sort mail can be kept out of sight.

More than 120 homes and businesses use the post office on a "general delivery" system. General delivery requires postal patrons to pick up and drop off their mail at the post office, rather than have it delivered to them.

Some folks outside of town, who regularly get their mailboxes vandalized, actually prefer general delivery to having mail delivered to their homes, Mrs. Esworthy said.

In addition, the tiny office sells stamps, mails packages and does bulk mailings for an area of about 3,000 people, said Mr. Yontz, who is working temporarily in the Braddock Heights post office in Frederick County.

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