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More post offices considered for closure

More post offices in Wyoming and across the country are under the U.S. Postal Service’s scrutiny for potential closing.

The service announced Tuesday it is studying the possible closure of 3,753 post offices around the country.

A total of 43 Wyoming post offices are being studied, but none have been closed in Wyoming at this time, said Al DeSarro, spokesman for the service’s  western region in Denver.
The expanded study list for Wyoming includes, among others, Deaver, Emblem, Hyattville and Otto.
The Emblem and Deaver post offices were contacted by the Tribune Wednesday, but employees declined to comment and referred questions to the regional office in Denver.
The closing process takes nine to 10 months. The process includes surveying local residents, a community meeting and studying other postal options. The final decision is reached in Washington, D.C., but people can appeal that decision to the Postal Regulatory Commission, DeSarro said.
Earlier this year, the town of Byron was notified of the possible closure of its post office, and the service hosted a public meeting in Byron in May.
A local committee was created in hopes of keeping the office open, but the service has not informed Byron of its status.
“We haven’t heard a word,” said Vicki Gibson, Town of Byron clerk/treasurer.
“No decisions have been made on Byron yet,” Al DeSarro said. “It’s still under study.”
Closed post offices could be replaced with Village Post Offices, which could be operated in local stores or government offices.
Under this system, someone under contract to the service could sell stamps, forward packages and maintain post office boxes with the community retaining its zip code, DeSarro said.
The Postal Service lost $8.5 billion last year. Since 2000, the amount of bills paid via a traditional stamp through the post office has dropped by 50 percent as consumers opted for Internet billing and direct deposit. First class mail volume dropped by 28 percent in the last four years, DeSarro said.
“We’re adjusting to the reality and the changing mailing needs,” DeSarro said.
DeSarro said it is hoped there will be no layoffs; those facing a shutdown will have a reassignment option.
“We have got a lot of vacancies now,” DeSarro said.
The service could save billions of dollars by reducing its deliveries to five days per week, and generally, the public supports the concept, but that requires an act of Congress, DeSarro said.
Closing small post offices is a wave of the future, Gibson said.
Post offices will become smaller and leaner. “We’ll still be there though,” DeSarro said.

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