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Four local post offices on ‘study list’ for potential closure

Four Lawrence County Post Offices are on a list of offices across the nation that the United States Postal Service will study to determine whether or not to close them, the agency announced Tuesday.

According to a press release from the USPS, post offices at Willow Wood, Scottown, Waterloo and Rock Camp are among approximately 3,700 across the nation on the study list. A complete list can be found on the United States Postal Services website.

The potential closings are a result of a loss of business at the offices as more and more customers conduct postal business online or at stores, according to a prepared statement from the USPS.

“Today, more than 35 percent of the Postal Service’s retail revenue comes from expanded access locations such as grocery stores, drug stores, office supply stores, retail chains, self-service kiosks, ATMs and usps.com, open 24/7,” Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe said in the statement. “Our customers’ habits have made it clear that they no longer require a physical post office to conduct most of their postal business.”

Between 32,000 postal retail offices and more than 70,000 third-party retailers, customers today have around 100,000 locations nationally where they can do business with the Postal Service, the release states.

“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,” Donahoe said.

Revenue, expenses and proximity to other post offices were all factors in determining which offices were put on the study list, spokesman David Walton said.

As the USPS conducts its study, the agency will look at the offices’ minimum workloads over the past 12 months, customers’ alternative access to postal service, customer demand and foot traffic in the post offices, Walton said.

The USPS has had to cut $8 billion from its budget this year and $8 billion last year, Walton said. Walton said the Internet has “hurt business,” and that first class letters – once a big moneymaker for the postal service – are not being used as much as before. “This is one thing we’re looking at to help the bottom line,” Walton said.

Walton said an exact number of the offices that will close has not been determined, but that none of the offices will close before December.

Altogether, the four Lawrence County post offices on the study list employ 10 people, Walton said. Rock Camp has one employee. There are four employees at Scottown, two at Waterloo and three at Willow Wood.

Windsor Township Trustee Mark Johnson said he opposes the potential closure of the Willow Wood and Scottown Post Offices, both of which are in the township.

“Well I think we need it because it’s handy for everyone in this area,” Johnson said. “They’re wanting to go to all these computers and stuff, a lot of the older people in our township don’t have a clue about that stuff.”

Johnson added that many people have post office boxes instead of mailboxes.

As a potential replacement option for the post offices, USPS has introduced the Village Post Office, which would be operated by local business such as retailers, pharmacies and grocery stores. The Village Post Offices would offer popular postal services like stamps and flat rate packaging.

Officials at the Scottown and Waterloo Post Offices declined comment. Efforts to reach officials at the Willow Wood and Rock Camp post offices were unsuccessful.