In Aug. 6 IssueBy Derek AaronTimes Journal Reporter
Despite nationwide worries over the viability of the U.S. Postal Service, the two local post offices say residents have nothing to worry about when it comes to their mail delivery and service.
Russell Springs Postmaster Ray Sears said that since the month has just begun, the office is teeming with people paying their bills.
"This office is the largest office in the county," he said of the Russell Springs branch. "There is not going to be any major impact at this office."
But Sears says he couldn't guarantee anything about smaller post offices.
"As far is this office is concerned, we're always going to be here," he said.
At the Jamestown Post Office, Clerk Janice Snow said business has also been good in the county seat.
She said smaller post offices with no routes are probably the ones being targeted for closure.
"It's been normal here," she said.
According to reports in the national media, the U.S Postal Service is considering reducing post office hours, closing some post offices, consolidating processing centers and ending Saturday delivery, among other options.
But Sears said he couldn't foresee any change in the way the local post offices are operated.
"All in all our partial volume has not really dropped," he said. "We depend upon a lot of packages."
He and Snow said they have seen more people selling on eBay recently which increases people traveling to and from the post office.
"Right now the postal service has a huge promotion going on with flat-rate boxes," Sears said. "Anywhere in the United States, anything you can put in that box for ($10.35 or $13.95), depending upon the size."
Sears said many people were taking advantage of that offer. He also said that the Russell Springs Post Office, which makes a minimum of $1 million worth of revenue each year, has post office boxes for rent for anyone who would like to have their mail every morning by 9 a.m.
"With fuel prices back down people are coming back in and renting our P.O. Boxes," he said.
Neither local post office has not lost any jobs in the economic downturn but has lost some work hours.
"That's to be expected," Sears said.
He did say that the U.S. Postal Service is pushing for offices to reduce their hours to save on money but that he didn't know if that would be an option in Russell County.
"The first thing I did when I came here was extend our Saturday hours," Sears said. "That's something we're still going to stand by."
He said the weekday hours would remain 8 a.m. until 4 p.m., every day. Snow also said that business hours had not been affected in Jamestown.
Sears and Snow both agreed that the possibility of ending Saturday mail runs here looked unlikely.
"Something like that would have to go through Congress and it hasn't been brought up yet," he said.
"We keep hearing about it, but thats been about it," Snow said of ending Saturday delivery.
Sears said the consolidation between the Russell Springs and Jamestown Post Offices would never happen, either. The postmaster in Jamestown is Richard Shivel.
"Neither one of us could house the other one," he said. He said his post office had 2,600 post office boxes and eight delivery routes while Jamestown has around 1,300 post office boxes and four routes, according to Snow.
"You're looking at 7,500 deliveries at a minimum (if consolidated)," he said. "So that is not a possibility."
Sears said the U.S. Postal Service had a massive reorganization back in 1995.
"I think it is going to take something like that again," he said. "The Postal Service is like any other organization, sometimes its got to revamp itself to grow and I fully believe that is what will happen."
In an effort to cut costs, the Postal Service has drawn up a list of more than 680 offices nationwide to look at for possible closure, according to reports.
These post offices are believed to be underperforming in regards to business and revenue.
National statistics show that mail volume fell last year by 9.5 billion pieces to 203 billion pieces and it is expected to fall to 175 billion pieces this year.
The Postal Service is expected to have a $7 billion loss this year and has outstanding debt of $10 billion and may have a shortfall this fiscal year of $1 billion, according to national media.