It was news hot off the presses last night and it wasn’t good. Before their Tuesday meeting the commissioners received word that the Betterton and Massey post offices are on a list of post office locations slated for possible closure.
The U.S. Postal Service is reviewing more than 3,700 post offices nationwide, about 12 percent, to determine which ones stay and which ones go. In Maryland 42 offices are on the chopping block, with eight locations in Baltimore and one in Annapolis.
Post offices that made the list are what the Postal Service calls “low activity,” meaning there is little foot traffic, average sales are less than $50 a day, and there is only about two hours of actual work a day.
To fill the void left by closing office locations the Postal Service is introducing a new concept it’s dubbed the “Village Post Office.” These new locations would be housed in local businesses, such as pharmacies, grocery stores, and convenience stores, and would offer postal products and services such as stamps and flat-rate packaging.
“By working with third-party retailers we’re creating easier, more convenient access to our products and services when and where our customers want them. The Village Post Office will offer another way for us to meet our customers’ needs,” Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe said in a statement. “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.”
There was no word from the Postal Service what it would do in a situation with a town like Betterton, where there is no pharmacy, grocery, or convenience store. If the Betterton location should close the nearest post office is in Worton or Chestertown. The Still Pond post office was closed in September after a fire and there are currently no plans to re-open it.
This newest list of possible closures is the Postal Service’s most recent plan to try to re-coup more than $8.5 billion in net loses. With more and more people turning to the internet to communicate the Postal Service, which makes most of its money selling stamps and other postage, has seen its mail volume fall.
In other cost saving measures the Postal Service has cut more than 100,000 jobs over four years; has stopped some contributions to the Federal Employees Retirement System; and is reviewing its bonus and discretionary pay policy for executives and senior management. To help with the budget gap members of the American Postal Workers Union have agreed to wage freezes, higher health care costs and other contract concessions.
A complete list of offices up for closure can be found online at http://about.usps.com/news/electronic-press-kits/expandedaccess/statelist.html