Mineral Wells Index, Mineral Wells, TX

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February 7, 2013

Saturday delivery cut step in right direction, but not a ‘fix-all’ for US Postal Service

By CHRIS AGEE

The U.S. Postal Service announced Wednesday the agency will end Saturday mail delivery later this year in an effort to trim up to $2 billion from its annual expenses.

The change – tentatively set for August – would not affect packages, which will still be delivered six days a week.

According to regional USPS spokesperson Sam Bolen, studies show the majority of customers do not have a problem with the change in service.

Santo resident Charles Fowler said he supports the initiative to save money.

"I'm retired and right now I don't have a problem with it at all," he said. He said he feels the USPS budget is high and is in favor of efforts to keep spending in check.

"I think there are a lot of ways they can improve," he said.

Bolen noted this is just one cost-cutting measure intended to create a sustainable postal service.

Some rural offices are cutting hours rather than shutting down completely, he said.

"Since 80 percent of our cost is labor, that is saving about a half-billion dollars," he said. "All these things are designed to save us $20 billion by 2015."

Lorelei St. James, a Mineral Wells High School graduate, now serves as director of physical infrastructure issues for the U.S. Government Accountability Office. She spoke to the Index Wednesday about her agency's role in recommending cost-cutting measures regarding the USPS.

"We work for Congress and we look at government programs and spending," she said. "What my agency does is, over the years, we have followed and looked at postal operations for Congress."

Several years ago, she said legislators recognized a troubling trend for the postal service.

"In 2006, everyone came to realize with the increase in online bill payment and e-commerce, coupled with the recession, the first-class mail began to drop significantly." She said that drop translated to revenue losses and necessitated the implementation of cost-cutting measures.

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