PLATTSBURGH — The decision by the U.S. Postal Service to cease home delivery of some mail on Saturdays beginning this August is drawing mixed reactions locally.
While Congressman Bill Owens (D-Plattsburgh) blasted the decision, others seem to be more accepting.
“Maybe it will hurt a little bit, but these days most people pay bills online,” said John Ralston, a Plattsburgh State student from Massena.
Paul Wenzel of Port Kent said he is not surprised the Post Office made the decision, after years of considering it.
“It kind of makes sense,” he said. “A lot of businesses are only open Monday through Friday.”
Wenzel said he can envision some seasonal residents being affected by the change.
“Some people who have summer homes here and are only here on weekends; they will not be able to get their mail on Saturdays,” he said.
The move to stop Saturday delivery, starting Aug. 5, is expected to save about $2 billion a year for the Postal Service, which has been struggling financially in recent years.
The change will affect all first-class mail, but packages will still be delivered. Post offices that operate on Saturdays will remain open.
Some area post offices, including the one in Wenzel’s hometown of Port Kent, have had hours curtailed in another move to save on costs. And the mail-processing center in Plattsburgh recently closed in another scheduled cutback.
Owens said that eliminating Saturday delivery of first-class mail will unfairly burden rural areas.
“I strongly disagree with the Postal Service’s outrageous decision to end Saturday delivery,” he said in a statement.
“It’s well known that the Postal Service has a budget problem, but leadership within the organization has failed in its duty to grow and seek out new opportunities to raise revenue, instead turning to rural areas for service cuts that do little to solve the problem.
“This is an irresponsible approach to management and one that I oppose.”
Owens has sponsored legislation to close gaps in the Postal Service’s budget that have been caused, in part, by pre-funding of employee health benefits, something Congress initiated in 2006, and by overpayments to employee pension funds.
“There is no question we must address the Postal Service’s budget shortfall, but cutting services that families in rural areas depend on is not the answer,” Owens said.
He said he would be sending a letter to Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe regarding the agency’s inability to find new revenue.
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