Phippsburg Post Office told of closure

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— The Phippsburg Post Office received official word Friday that it permanently would be closed and that mail service to the unincorporated town would be replaced with outdoor cluster boxes.

There is still the opportunity for one more appeal, but to Phippsburg resident Louise Iacovetto who has been spearheading the five-month resistance to the closure, it’s starting to look like a lost cause.

“I had a glimmer of hope that maybe we could be saved,” she said.

The Phippsburg Post Office was one of about a dozen statewide tapped for possible closure in May. A second round of closure feasibility studies began last week, with 80 more post offices in Colorado in jeopardy, including Toponas.

The process in Phippsburg began with a notification and then a public meeting in June. The U.S. Postal Service considered the public comment then posted a notice of a proposed closure. Residents then had a chance to appeal the proposal. After the final notification Friday, residents have 30 days to appeal via letter to Postal Service headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Routt County Commissioner Nancy Stahoviak, a South Routt resident, said the post offices in small towns are vital, especially for the elderly who can’t drive.

“My personal opinion is that it doesn’t matter what we do or say, they’re going through the motions; they’re going to do it anyway,” she said about the closure. “I think it’s important for that community, and I don’t think cluster boxes are going to work for” Phippsburg.

Stahoviak and Iacovetto expressed concerns about the cluster box plan. They said the notice did not say how many would be installed or where they would be located. Cluster boxes also could require residents to take care of snow removal, a responsibility that would be difficult for the elderly.

Stahoviak said she will discuss with the other county commissioners whether the board will send a formal letter to Washington, D.C., about this round of appeals. The commissioners already have sent two letters opposing the closure to the Postal Service throughout the process.

The formal notice of closure included specific reasons for closing the retail space and consolidating services to the Oak Creek Post Office 4 miles away.

It said the Postal Service would save $43,622 annually by closing the post office and laying off the postmaster officer in charge, Mariea “CC” Connor. The letter said the Postal Service would try to reassign her.

The Postal Service began the closure studies as a cost-saving measure. Officials said the organization is facing a $10 billion deficit and as communication avenues evolve and Postal Service use declines, restructuring is necessary.

“It’s going to make it more difficult for them to have access to their postal services,” Stahoviak said. “And it takes away a piece of their community. (Post offices) have always been the cornerstone of a community.”

To reach Nicole Inglis, call 970-871-4204 or email ninglis@SteamboatToday.com

Comments

Scott Wedel 3 years ago

Seems to me that the snow removal issue around cluster boxes is easy enough for the County to deal with - simply tell their plow trucks to clear around the cluster boxes when plowing. It may not be the County's obligation to clear snow around the cluster boxes, but there would be nothing from stopping the county for performing that function.

Also, the Postal Service's info on post office closing says they would be fine with a local business such as a general store hosting post office services. So if it was so critical to the community then find a local business to host postal services. And if it is such a big concern for the County then open a South Routt county extension office which also does portal services. Seriously, if it is going to be so rough on locals to get their mail from cluster boxes or go a few miles to OC to mail packages then it is at least 10 times worse trying to get county services by having to go to SB.

It is quite hypocritical of the County Commissioners to cite hardships caused by closing the local post office when County services are already 30 miles away.

Mess up and end up on probation with required drug and alcohol testing? And want to keep your local job? Well tough, you have at least a two hour errand to SB whenever they require a test. Want to record something with County Clerk and Recorder? Two hour errand.

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Brian Kotowski 3 years ago

"(Post offices) have always been the cornerstone of a community.”

So were stagecoach service and the Pony Express, once upon a time. Things change. That's life.

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Scott Ford 3 years ago

In all the discussion concerning the Post Office the question of why they are in such financial trouble is often overlooked. The typical assumption is that the Post Office is a bloated government agency rife with union “featherbedding”. To be sure as with any government agency there are efficiencies to be found. To be sure union contracts regarding retirement benefits (health/pensions) are too “rich”.

However, the Postal Service’s biggest current problem was one created by US Congress in 2006 not of their own making. The “Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006” required the postal service agency to pre-fund healthcare benefits of future retirees, a 75 year liability over a 10 year period. No other agency or corporation is required to do this. I guess the US Postal Service is special. This provision costs the Postal Service $5.5 billion a year. Ouch!

I am not aware of any private sector employer or government agency (federal/state/local) that is even coming close to doing this. If this same requirement was placed on the Department of Defense I am confident that the tax increase to support it would make 9/9/9 look more like drop and give me 20/20/20.

The Post Office is being treated as an “enterprise”. As an enterprise the goal is to make this agency be self-supporting. This is a lofty goal that in all likelihood will fail because the pre-funding mandate is too high. For the US Postal Service the “government” is their biggest problem.

The USPS will be taken down and privatized over the next 10 to 15 years. I doubt the private contractor(s) that receive the contract to provide services will be required to pre-fund even one year of their benefit plans – let alone 75 years into the future. Like most employers this private industry contractor will be on a pay as you go basis.

We are engaged in a grand experiment of privatization. It will be interesting to see how this experiment plays out. Who knows, perhaps in the future when we pick-up our mail we will be asked if we want fries or a hot apple pie.

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Brian Kotowski 3 years ago

Instructive, perhaps, that both FedEx & UPS have no difficulty making deliveries directly to my doorstep - a feat the USPS has never been able to duplicate.

With all due respect to Scott Ford, "featherbedding" is "featherbedding" regardless of who the bed maker is. The manufacturer isn't very meaningful to those left to pick up the tab. Governors Christie, Daniels, Walker, & Jindal have stepped up to the plate and made some very difficult & politically hazardous decisions to stem the tide in their respective jurisdictions. We are desperately in need of similar fortitude at the national level. Otherwise, we're heading down the same road in lockstep with Greece, England, Italy, Ireland, Portugal, and Spain.

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Scott Wedel 3 years ago

Well, USPS delivers for $.44 while Fedex minimum is about $10.

Not that even if you remove the $5.5 billion healthcare issue then postal service is still losing about $5 billion a year. And their revenues are declining because people send less mail and companies send fewer catalogs.

Postal service has other congressional mandates affecting their costs. They have to provide Saturday delivery and first class mail generally has to be overnight. Both requirements are relevant for a tiny portion of the mail.

Personally, I see a future of MWF delivery. And it would seem pretty easy to have a kiosk machine that can accept a letter/package and determine the needed postage and accept payment.

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Brian Kotowski 3 years ago

I could spend $100 with USPS, and still be unable to get the parcel to my door. USPS is a service provider, and its service is mediocre, at best. I remember thinking 15 years ago that the USPS was destined to go the way of the dodo. Part of me is surprised that it has survived this long. The other more cynical - read: realistic - part of me understands that dragging USPS into the here & now would necessitate too many public employees being severed from the government teat; which is an untenable proposition for the public unions and our firmly entrenched class of political hacks.

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