Byron, Carleton post offices could close

The U.S. Postal Service announced last week a consideration to close 3,700 locations across the country; most in small towns. In Nebraska, 90 offices have been tagged; two in Thayer County. The mail service cites net losses of $8 billion last year and $3 billion the year before blaming the World Wide Web.

According to a July 26 USPS news release, the USPS said it will be taking the next step in “right-sizing” its expansive retail network by conducting studies of the earmarked retail offices to determine customer needs. As part of the effort, the service also introduced a retail-replacement option for affected communities around the nation.

The plan is to replace some of the office locations with Village Post Offices, meaning retail outlets, ATMs and kiosks offering stamps and packaging. According to the news release, the service already sells its products through more than 70,000 third-party retailers.

“Today, more than 35 percent of the Postal Service’s retail revenue comes from expanded access locations such as grocery stores, drug stores, office supply stores, retail chains, self-service kiosks, ATMs and uspas.com, open 24’7,” said Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe. “Our customers’ habits have made it clear that they no longer require a physical post office to conduct most of their postal business.”

Village Post Offices are 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 release said.

The USPS says most of the 3,700 offices on the list have little foot traffic and average less than $50 per day. In Thayer County, Carleton and Byron are on the list.

Ruskin and Hardy in Nuckolls County, Grafton and Ohiowa in Fillmore County, and Jansen and Endicott in Jefferson County are also listed. Closings will start in the next four to six months.

The USPS is also considering saving money by moving mail delivery service from six to five days a week and asked the U.S. government if current mandates requiring $5.5 billion annual retiree health benefit pre-payments could be eliminated. The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses, and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.

Post offices under consideration for closing have received 60-day notices. The USPS will make final decisions at the end of the 60 days. Post office closings can be appealed through the Postal Regulatory Commission.

To see a complete list of all tagged post offices in the nation or Nebraska, go to  http://about.usps.com and click on national or state news in the left side banner.

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