Senate bill could postpone post office closures

Phippsburg, Toponas wait for news on Postal Service reform

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U.S. Sen. Mark Udall

The future of two rural Routt County post offices continues to hang in the balance as the U.S. Senate discusses Postal Service reform this week.

Amid the talks on Capitol Hill, Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., is pushing to save rural post offices — including those in Phippsburg and Toponas — from possible closure.

On Wednesday, as a postal reform bill circulated the Senate floor, Udall co-sponsored an amendment led by Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., and Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., that would protect rural post offices from closure for two more years. After that period, the Postal Service would consider a town’s geography, Internet access and economic impact of the post office before any closures would take place.

The amendment stipulates that the Postal Service look into other cost-saving measures in the meantime, according to a news release from Udall’s office.

“I hope Mark Udall can get that (amendment) put through,” said Barbara Gehl, Toponas Country General Store owner and rural mail route carrier in South Routt. “That’d be a big step forward for all our post offices. Even if it is a two-year moratorium … it would be beneficial to both sides.”

The Phippsburg Post Office already has been notified of its pending closure because of low revenue and usage. At the end of January, the town was denied its appeal. The Toponas Post Office is awaiting a final determination on its closure study.

In December, Postal Service officials announced they planned to delay closing any post offices until May 15 to allow for possible legislation, after Udall, Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., and 20 other lawmakers advocated for the moratorium.

“While I understand the need to make the U.S. Postal Service leaner in the 21st century, I do not believe that rural Coloradans should have their access to vital postal and other services limited as a result of decisions made by bureaucrats in Washington,” Udall said in Wednesday’s news release.

Phippsburg and Toponas are just two of more than 80 post offices statewide and 3,700 across the country that are facing closure as the Postal Service looks to make up for a $10 billion deficit.

Gehl, who has been organizing Toponas’ opposition to the closure, said she’s grateful that Udall is advocating for rural post offices.

“That’s what we need, is somebody in that kind of a position to speak up and say, ‘Wait a minute, we need these post offices, we don’t want to lose them,’” she said.

The Phippsburg Post Office, which began the closure process earlier than Toponas, would close as early as May 15 unless the date is pushed back again. Longtime resident Louise Iacovetto has been organizing that community’s effort to save the post office.

“It’s gratifying to hear he’s out there trying to do something,” Iacovetto said. “We’ve just been waiting to see what happens.”

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

Comments

Brian Kotowski 1 year, 12 months ago

$10 billion in the hole. Instead of doing anything meaningful, we keep digging. No worries for Senator Udall, though. It's not his money. It's ours. If we're lucky, we'll drag the USPS into the 20th century, just in time for the 21st.

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Fred Duckels 1 year, 12 months ago

Cutting back is hard to do and it plays hell with needed votes for reelection.

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mark hartless 1 year, 12 months ago

Check out this list of government agencies I came across the other day. I'm sure the american people can not go on living without every single one of these: www.usa.gov/directory/federal/index.s... That's 476 agencies! How many of them do ya think sent contingencies to Vegas last year?

According to the government's own figures the american people spent $198,000,000,000 (one hundred ninety eight billion dollars) just in March of 2012. Somebody check my math... That's $6,600,000,000 (six billion six hundred million dollars) / day That's $275,000,000 (two hundred seventy five million dollars) / hour That's $4,583,000 (four million five hundred eighty three thousand dollars) /minute Thats $76,388 (seventy six thousand three hundred eighty eight dollars) / every time you took a breath... Let's go one step farther... 42% of that is BORROWED MONEY! So we borrowed... AND SPENT: $83,160,000,000 (eighty three billion one hundred sixty million dollars) / month $2,772,000,000 (two billion seven hundred seventy two million dollars) / day $115,000,000 (one hundred fifteen million dollars) / hour $1,925,000 (one million nine hundred twenty five thousand dollars) / minute $32,000 (thirty two thousand dollars) every time you took a breath

And remember, that's saying nothing of the $16,000,000,000,000 (sixteen trillion dollars) our grandkids already owe our creditors

And still, there's not one damn thing we can find to cut...

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Rob Douglas 1 year, 12 months ago

"The federal government ran a $777 billion deficit for the first six months of fiscal year 2012...including a $196 billion hole in March, marking the 40th straight month of deficits. That streak goes back to the financial collapse under President George W. Bush, and means the government has never run a surplus in any month during President Obama’s tenure. The longest previous deficit streak on record was 11 months...CBO analysts have projected the government will run a fourth straight year of trillion-dollar deficits." http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/apr/6/government-40th-straight-deficit-month-march/

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mark hartless 1 year, 12 months ago

Tax the rich. That'll take care of the deficit. Just watch this video and see how...

www.youtube.com/watch?v=jboTeS9Okak

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mark hartless 1 year, 12 months ago

If 196 (or 198) billion was just the deficit then my spending figures are just the borrowing figures. Even darker picture. Oops.

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