Public meetings are still being held to decide the future of nearly 3,700 post office branches of the United States Postal Service, and local and state officials are trying to save one of them: the South Bethlehem location.
Bethlehem Supervisor Sam Messina and State Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin are explaining their reasons to a federal lawmaker in an attempt to save the local office. They’ve written a letter to Congressman Paul Tonko urging him to fight to keep the location on Bridge Street open.
“These post offices are vital to the fabric of those small communities,” said McLaughlin. “They tend to be pretty isolated.”
The freshman Assemblyman, whose parents both worked for the postal service, believes there are better options to help the agency save money.
“I’d much rather see them go toward no Saturday delivery, and maybe no Tuesday delivery,” said McLaughlin.
In late July, the postal service announced that branches nationwide would be assessed to determine customer needs. An idea for Village Post Offices was also floated. That would transfer the operation of postal services to local businesses, grocery stores, and other retailers, who could provide products like stamps, and services such as flat-rate packaging.
“There are no pre-determined outcomes to these studies that are being undertaken on every one of these offices,” said Tom Rizzo, spokesperson for the United States Postal Service. “We don’t expect that we’ll be closing every post office on that list. All of the customer input and questions will be taken into consideration.”
McLaughlin said there are five post offices under review within his district. Earlier this year, the Postal Service announced the post office in Clarksville would be shuttered after undergoing the review process the South Bethlehem office is now in the midst of.
“This isn’t a lot of bang for the buck,” said McLaughlin. “Really what you are doing is sort of cost shifting, because now you have to get in your car, and burn up gas and time and mileage.”