Postal Service wants to cut Saturday mail deliveries | News

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Postal Service wants to cut Saturday mail deliveries
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BANGOR, Maine (NEWS CENTER)-- The United States Postal Service proposed a plan to cut mail deliveries to five days a week. The postmaster general laid out the proposal on Wednesday. Under the plan , Saturday mail deliveries would be cut, but packages would still be delivered. Those that use post office boxes would continue to receive mail. According to the postal service these cuts could save two billion dollars a year.

Tom Rizzo with USPS Northern New England District said, "We obviously need to take responsible steps to address our financial situation and the great reduction in the use of mail by the American public. The postal service expects to be around for a long long time. It will probably be somewhat different, somewhat smaller than it has been in the past, but that's just a reflection of how the mail is being used."

According to the postal service, the reasons behind the cuts are to offset the decrease in people using the service and the large debt facing the USPS.

The State Association of Letter Carriers called the proposal disappointing and described it as a death spiral for the postal service.

Retired Ellsworth mail carrier John Curtis said, "The postal service is in crisis it needs to overcome that crisis, but when you start to cut back on that service arbitrarily, like no more Saturday deliveries you're talking about limiting the service, limiting the income. Less people using the service and so you're on a slope where everything you cut brings in less revenue therefore you have to cut more."

Both sides feel a large portion of the debt comes from a law passed in 2006 by Congress requiring the Postal service to keep 5.5 billion dollars a year in a reserve account for retirement benefits.

Representatives for the postal service say the proposal will keep them from looking to tax payers for funding.

Rizzo said, "I wouldn't expect any normal business in the course of doing responsible stewardship of those businesses to maintain a much larger infrastructure and expenses than is necessary to deliver those products and services. So it's the same with the postal service."

Some carriers argue the five day mail delivery will hurt small businesses.

Curtis said, "People pay bills to small business with checks, they don't do it online. Saturday those businesses are still there on Saturdays waiting for payments on Saturday, but now the postal service wants to take that away from them. And I think one of the major impacts will be on small businesses and certainly Maine will feel that since we are such a rural state where small businesses is the main type of business there is."

The Maine State Association of Letter Carriers stated they will fight the proposal. The ability to cut delivery service down to five days would require approval by Congress.

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