Four local post offices may close

Published 4:03 pm Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Four local post offices were were among 60 in Alabama identified for possible closure by the United States Postal Service yesterday.

The USPS announced Tuesday it is reviewing 3,700 retail locations across the country for possible closure, which include Nanafalia, Myrtlewood, Bellamy and Jefferson.

Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe issued a statement saying customers are not using rural offices as much as they used to.

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“Our customer’s habits have made it clear that they no longer require a physical post office to conduct most of their postal business,” said Donahoe. “The Postal Service of the future will be smaller, leaner and more competitive and it will continue to drive commerce, serve communities and deliver value.”

In the statement, Donahoe said some communities that lose retail locations might get what USPS is calling a Village Post Office, smaller automated stations or a local vendor that sells stamps and flat-rate boxes.

Village Post Offices would be operated by local businesses, such as pharmacies, grocery stores and other appropriate retailers, and would offer popular postal products and services such as stamps and flat-rate packaging.

The USPS, which reported a loss of $2.6 billion for the quarter ending March 31, is seeking to cut costs as it approaches its $15 billion borrowing limit. The postal service has almost 32,000 post offices. The closings may save $200 million, Donahoe said at the news conference.

“A lot of the decisions we make around our operations are based on the revenues that come into the operation,” Donahoe said.

Donahoe said that this and other moves, such as a proposal under consideration to reduce service to five days a week, are necessary to close a $20 billion gap in revenue by 2015.

Most of the post offices being studied for closure have so little foot traffic that workers average less than two hours of work per day and average sales are less than $50 a day, according to the postal service. The closings are expected to begin within the next four to six months, with the first closing by January.