USPS seeks comments on formal proposal

The U.S. Postal Service is in the midst of its written comments for closing post offices in Hyattville, Otto, Emblem and Deaver.

Following public meetings in each town (Otto’s was held in Burlington), the Postal Service posted official proposals to close each post office and establish service by highway contract route service at each office. The proposal order for Otto’s is posted at the Basin Post Office, Emblem’s is posted at the Burlington Post Office, Hyattville’s is posted at the Manderson Post Office and Deaver’s is posted at the Lovell Post Office. Each posting corresponds with the office that will take over administrative responsibility for those postal customers.

Each proposal lists “responsiveness to community postal needs including advantages and disadvantages; effect on the community and effect on employees. Each proposal said the postmasters at each facility may be moved to another facility, if possible. In Hyattville there are two PMRs (postmaster relief) assigned, one in Emblem and one in Otto. The four may “be separated from the Postal Service.”

For Hyattville, the USPS is proposing closing the office and providing delivery and retail services by highway contract route service “under the administrative responsibility of the Manderson Post Office.”

Deaver’s proposal, posted at the Lovell Post Office, is to have delivery and retail services provided by highway contract route service “under the administrative responsibility of the Lovell Post Office,” and the notice states that the postmaster may be moved to another facility, if possible.

The closure is proposed, according to formal proposal, due to the declining workload. Over the past several years there has been a decline in walk-in revenue in Hyattville from a high of $18,581 in fiscal year 2008 to $15,288 in 2009 and $16,916 in 2010. The Postal Service estimates a 10-year savings at $369,434. Hyattville provides delivery and retail service to 73 box holders and general delivery customers and seven delivery route customers.

Otto’s revenue declined from a high of $6,065 in 2008 to $5,344 in 2010. Expected savings for the USPS with the closing is estimated at $294,483 over the next 10 years. Otto provides delivery and retail service to 24 box holders or general delivery customers and 29 delivery route customers.

Emblem’s revenue has declined from a high in 2008 of $9,579 to a low in the past four years of $7,742 in 2010. The Postal Service estimates a 10-year savings of $349,688. Emblem currently provides delivery and retail services for 41 box holders or general delivery customers.

Deaver’s post office has seen a decline in revenue from $25,109 in fiscal year 2007 to $18,611 in FY 2010. The closure would save an estimated $572,543 over a 10-year period.

Advantages listed for all four proposed closings is that rural and contract carriers may provide retail services and stamps by mail order forms are provided; savings for the USPS contribute in the long run to stable postage rates; and no post office box fees for those opting for carrier service.

Disadvantages listed are the loss of a retail outlet and postmaster position in the community and having to arrange to meet the delivery carrier at the box to conduct business. The change will also require a change in mailing addresses for everyone. The community names will continue to be used in the new addresses. The zip codes are not expected to change.

The Postal Service states in each proposal that “based on the information obtained in the course of this discontinuance study, the Postal Service concludes this proposal will not adversely affect the community and every effort will be made to maintain the identity.”

For all four communities, the Postal Service says it will “solicit throughout the community interest in the possible establishment of a Village Post Office.” However, it lists no businesses or organizations in Otto, two businesses in Emblem — Clay Creek Angus and Greybull Valley Irrigation. In Hyattville there are 24 businesses listed on the proposal including several area ranches, and the Deaver proposal lists two businesses: SE Inc. and Deaver Irrigation.

According to the USPS, Village Post Offices would be operated by local businesses, such as pharmacies, grocery stores and other appropriate retailers, and would offer popular postal products and services such as stamps and flat-rate packaging.

David Rupert of USPS Corporate Communications said that following the comment period, the Postal Service will make a final determination and there will be another 30-day comment period if the decision is to in fact close the post offices. Following that 30-day period, the Postal Service has at least 30 days before deciding on an official closing date.

“You’re looking at three months at the earliest before any of these offices will be closed. We’re looking at 3,600 post offices right now; it takes time,” Rupert said.

Comments may be sent to: Manager of Customer Contact, 7500 East 53rd Place, No. 2212, Denver, CO 80266.

The deadline to comment for the Hyattville and Emblem proposed closings is Dec. 29. The deadline to comment on Deaver is Jan. 1, and for the Otto closing proposal, the deadline is Jan. 3.

By Karla Pomeroy