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Local post offices may have to cut hours
REGION -— Scores of area post offices, including some under consideration for closure, may have their hours cut under a plan to reduce the U. S. Postal Service deficit by nearly $500 million annually.
The plan will keep post offices in Paris Hill, North Waterford, Danville in Auburn, Stoneham and East Livermore open, but cut back hours in most of those post offices and many others in the area.
The affected post offices that may have their hours reduced also include Center Lovell, Lovell, Waterford, Andover, Buckfield, Bryant Pond, East Dixfield, East Andover, East Poland, Stoneham, East Wilton, Hebron, Jay, Livermore, Greenwood, Minot, Newry, Leeds, North Turner, North Waterford and the Paris Post office plus others. The reductions of hours is anywhere from two to four hours per day.
The Paris Hill Post office, which had been considered for closure last year, does not appear to be affected by loss of hours.
Postmaster General Pat Donahoe said Wednesday the new plan would not only keep open 32,000 post offices nationwide but provide the postal service with the ability to achieve significant cost savings of up to $500 million annually as part of the plan to return the organization to financial stability.
The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.
U.S. Postal Service spokesman Tom Rizzo told the Sun Journal from his Portland office Wednesday that the Postal Service considered several options for the affected post offices including reducing hours and relocating the service to a nearby business.
“If it's decided that keeping the post office in place and adjusting hours will efficiently serve an affected community, the post office will continue to operate with modified hours. The post office will remain open unless a community has a strong preference for one of the other options,” Rizzo said.
He said the towns will have an opportunity to weigh in on the final decisions of their local post office before the action is implemented.
The Postal Service will request an advisory opinion on the plan from the Postal Regulatory Commission later this month. Community meetings would then be conducted to review options in greater detail. Communities will be notified by mail of the date, time and location of these meetings.
Access to the retail lobby and to post office boxes would remain unchanged, and the town's ZIP code and community identity would be retained. The plan would not be implemented fully until September 2014.
“I am pleased to see that Postmaster General Donahoe has reconsidered his ill-advised plan to close thousands of rural postal offices, including 34 in Maine, and instead focus on alternative strategies to ensure these critical links to our nation’s communities stay open, either with reduced hours or through co-location with other businesses," said U.S. Sen. Olympia J. Snowe in a statement released late Wednesday. "While I will continue to review the details of the plan, it appears to be a step in the right direction. That said, it is vital that the changes to each rural post office match the specific needs of each individual community. Simply put, a one-size-fits-all approach will not work in Maine or anywhere else in the United States."
U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, one of the lead sponsors of bipartisan, comprehensive postal reform legislation, said earlier in the day that she was "cautiously optimistic" about the plan.
"To be effective, such a plan must, however, take into account people's schedules and post offices should be open at times convenient to their customers," she said.
A list of affected post offices and additional details are available at