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Two area post offices eyed for closure

With tightened budgets forcing the U.S.Postal Service to streamline its operations, two area post officesthat serve rural communities are eyed for closure.

    The Postal Service released a study list Tuesday of 3,700 postoffices nationwide it will consider closing in favor of offeringincreased services through local businesses.

    Among the 61 Mississippi postal outlets on the list are postoffices in Union Church, in Jefferson County, and McCall Creek, inFranklin County Postmasters of both locations Tuesday referred allinquiries to Nancy Ross, a postal spokesperson, who could not bereached for comment.

    “Our customer’s habits have made it clear that they no longerrequire a physical post office to conduct most of their postalbusiness,” said Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe in a pressrelease issued Tuesday.

    Members of affected communities expressed concern about theconsequences if local post offices shut down.

    “That would be very inconvenient,” said Lisa Strickland, who livesclose to the McCall Creek post office and was picking up mailTuesday. “I hope it doesn’t close.”

    Strickland said she receives many packages through the McCall Creekpost office and is able to stop by the location on her way to work.Without that location, Strickland said she would have to drivefarther.

    Cindy Hebert has connections to three counties. A resident ofLincoln County she has an address in Union Church and a Fayettetelephone number.

    She was not pleased by the possibility of no post office in UnionChurch.

    “I don’t think they should close it. That’s a community’sidentity,” Hebert said.

    According to Tuesday’s release, 35 percent or more of the PostalService’s retail business comes from locations other than physicalpost offices. The Internet, self-service kiosks and postal servicesoffered at retail locations, such as grocery and drug stores, aresome of the major alternative venues for postal services.

    Decreased traffic at physical retail outlets has cramped operatingbudgets. The Postal Service receives no funding from tax revenueand relies on the revenue it produces according to its website.

    Materials released by the Postal Service Tuesday do not outline atimeline for determination of whether post offices on the list willstay open or close.

    For communities that do see their post offices closed, the PostalService outlined the “Village Post Office,” a program to alleviatethe inconvenience suffered with the closures. The Village PostOffice would be provided through local businesses and would offerpopular services like stamps and flat rate packaging.

    “By working with third-party retailers, we’re creating easier, moreconvenient access to our products and services when and where ourcustomers want them,” Donahoe said. “The Village Post Office willoffer another way for us to meet our customers’ needs.”