Snead postal operators plead for town help

by Jim Kilgore

Sisters Mistie Mashburn and Kristie Broom asked the Snead Town Council for assistance in maintaining the local postal center at last week’s meeting. The United States Postal Service (USPS) notified the two of plans to reduce their compensation for providing postal boxes and other services at their local pharmacy.

Mashburn reported they had received a letter praising them for revenues of $79,000 over the past year but indicating USPS plans to reduce their repayment from 12 cents per revenue dollar to 10 cents. Mashburn asserts that they cannot afford to continue the service at that rate. She asked the town to consider supplementing the compensation, which will drop from approximately $877 a month to about $660. The women would like to see the town provide funds to raise the compensation to $1,000 monthly. Since they pay workers to man the office, she has asked USPS to allow them to reduce weekly hours from 40 to 35.

Responding to the request, Councilman Jack Freeman spoke against it. He noted the town struggles to find funds to meet other needs, particularly roads. He suggested that people get on-site mailboxes and use the Altoona office to purchase stamps. Outgoing Mayor Tim Kent decided the council should delay any action until the new council takes office the first Monday in November. [Members did later approve a $1,000 contribution to the county juvenile probation office.]

Prior to the request, the town accepted the offer of seven flagpoles, flags, and lights from the Snead VFW ( Veterans of Foreign Wars). VFW member George Elrod had asked that the town agree to place the flags in an appropriate location, and landscape and maintain the site.

Volunteer fire Chief Lee Netherton sought additional funds for adjusting town radio band-width, as required by federal guidelines. Utilities department head Jeff Whited reported that town engineer Robert Nelson has said the town should be able to seek bids for its planned water department improvements in November.

Freeman again expressed opposition as the council examined the question of providing 5-percent pay raises to its full-time employees. Town clerk Rae Ware explained she had budgeted the raise as a usual cost-ofliving adjustment. Freeman retorted that no one except public sector employees seemed to be enjoying raises over the immediate past. At councilman and mayorelect Curtis Painter’s suggestion, the council tabled the issue. They did approve funding police Chief Phillip Weaver’s expenses to attend a winter conference and almost $2,000 for radio and siren “narrow banding.”

Before the adjournment, departing Councilman James Campbell accepted Kent’s offer to extend his appreciation to the citizens for allowing him to serve the city intermittently in various capacities for more than 35 years. Kent then expressed similar gratitude.

Councilmen Phillip McHan and Charles Sanders joined the above named for the Oct. 22 meeting, held in the fire station rather than the usual community center. The council holds its normal meetings on the second and fourth Mondays of each month at 7 p.m. in the community center.