HONESDALE, PA — Election season and the holidays may have passed, but delivery delays through the U.S. Postal Service are still causing frustration and “unacceptable” complications …
HONESDALE, PA — Election season and the holidays may have passed, but delivery delays through the U.S. Postal Service are still causing frustration and “unacceptable” complications in Wayne County.
Last week, experiencing problems of their own, the Wayne County Commissioners decided to call upon their federal officials Rep. Matt Cartwright (PA-08) and Sens. Bob Casey and Pat Toomey for help.
“Typically, a slight mail delay is something we’ve come to expect and can grin and bear it knowing there’s a pandemic... election ballots and plenty of packages keeping the sorting centers and our mail carriers busy,” the commissioners wrote. “But when we are still receiving mail that’s postmarked December 7 on January 4 and we have heard from countless county residents and businesses that things the county has mailed out have not arrived, in some cases, three months later, we feel the need to contact your office to get to the bottom of things.”
The commissioners said that postage marked as sorted in Johnstown, Pittsburgh and out-of-state seems to arrive on time. But mail sent through the local post office, which is sorted in Lehigh Valley, “seems to not arrive or arrive weeks later.”
Widely reported financial woes, staffing shortages and the COVID-19 pandemic are just a few of the problems plaguing the Post Office, of which less reliable deliveries are the primary symptom. Understaffing specifically in Lehigh Valley has also been reported in that region’s local media.
In Wayne, the issues have been especially trying as the commissioners have been trying to distribute more than a million dollars in CARES Act relief to local businesses at the tail end of 2020. Commissioner Joe Adams said that the first round of checks was sent in early October, and at least two of them were never received. Of the 24 checks totaling more than $200,000 in second round relief sent at the end of December, just one had been delivered as of last Thursday.
Chief clerk Andrew Seder said that the delayed delivery of CARES money—which the state put a strict end-of-the-year deadline on spending—shouldn’t affect the recipients’ abilities to spend the money. However, he said it remains to be seen what effect it will have on the businesses’ tax records: money technically from 2020 being spent in 2021 could cause complications.
The postmaster at the post office in Honesdale told Seder that mail is on a 30- to 60-day average delay. The commissioners cautioned the public to be aware of getting charged late fees or other consequences for bills that people paid on time but were not delivered because of postage delays.
“I’ll vouch for what is happening to people: You pay your credit card bill, you sent it in December 4, it still has not been received by the credit card company, you get a letter from them that you’re late and assessed a late fee, and then the card gets suspended for future... then you get reported to the credit bureau,” Adams said. “Anyone who pays a bill... there’s a good chance it might not get there for 30 to 60 days.”
Commissioner Jocelyn Cramer urged residents to “be proactive” to avoid damaging their credit and incurring late fees on bills.
“Don’t cross your fingers and hope it gets there,” she said. “It’s a real problem.”