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USPS plan a ‘win-win’

My Opinion
Ross Schulz, Staff Writer

The United States Postal Service recently introduced a plan that will halt the closure of many rural post office locations and, hopefully on its end, still provide a way for the government-run agency to stop or slow the significant financial bleeding.
Postal service officials call it a ‘win-win’ proposition for small towns and the USPS.
Small towns and communities need post offices to keep their identity. Many residents consider their post office the heartbeat of their communities. It’s often one of the few places in rural America where folks gather and see each other.
So, while many small towns have lost their ‘heartbeat’ with the first several rounds of post office closures, it’s good to know the new plan unveiled calls for only cuts in hours of operation, with no location closures.
‘Meeting the needs of postal customers is, and always will be, a top priority. We continue to balance that by better aligning service options with customer demand and reducing the cost to serve,’ Postmaster General and CEO Patrick R. Donahoe said recently. ‘With that said, we’ve listened to our customers in rural America and we’ve heard them loud and clear; they want to keep their post office open. We believe today’s announcement will serve our customers’ needs and allow us to achieve real savings to help the postal service return to long-term financial stability.’
The plan, if implemented, would keep the existing post offices in place, but with modified retail window hours, according to the postal service. Access to the retail lobby and to P.O. Boxes would remain unchanged, and the town’s ZIP code and community identity would be retained.
Locally, post offices in the following towns will reduce daily window hours from eight to four: Crandall, Depauw, Eckerty, Hardinsburg, Laconia, Leavenworth, Mauckport and Birdseye.
The Marengo, Milltown and Ramsey offices will only drop from eight to six hours per day.
The most significant cut will occur at the Fredericksburg office, which will only have two hours of operation.
The change in hours will take some time to get used to, but it’s definitely better than shutting down completely. Some communities in Harrison County wish this plan would have been implemented in the past, which would have prevented closings in Central, Bradford and New Middletown.
Once fully implemented, the postal service expects it to save a half-billion dollars annually. The plan may only be temporary, and closures or other significant changes within the postal service will have to be revisited if it truly wants to become financially viable, because estimates show the service losing $7 billion this fiscal year.
But, at least this time around, the postal service took residents’ opinions under consideration before implementing a plan.