By Katie Collins

News Eagle Reporter

Local residents commented on the recent announcement by the US Postal Service to limit Saturday mail delivery to packages.

Starting August 5, the United States Postal Service will implement a new delivery schedule, where mail will no longer be delivered on Saturday. Instead, only packages will continue to be delivered that day. The Postal Service expects the new schedule will save approximately $2 billion annually, once the plan starts, because of a combination of employee reassignment and reduction.

Although the Postal Service and major news organizations have found that nearly seven out of 10 Americans support the new schedule, the people of Hawley have their own thoughts about the new schedule.

Bernadette Madigan, owner of Madigan Jewelry and Gifts said a one day change will not be problematic for her. Normally, Madigan said she receives most of her packages through UPS or FedEx because of damaged packages she has received through the Postal Service. With the new delivery schedule, Madigan questioned how practical the change will be, since packages are still being delivered on Saturday. She said, "it doesn’t make much sense to me."

Owner of Penny Lane Candies and Candles, Linda Lazaro does not expect the schedule change to affect her business. Because of the postal service’s financial issue, Lazaro called the change a, "necessary step."

Louis Beck of What’s Knot Trading Post, called the schedule change, "like the passing of an era." Because of society’s usage of modern technology, Deck said "you see this coming and you feel bad," but she added that the Postal Service, "will have to adjust to a new norm."

Owner of Teeters’ Furniture and Teeters’ Funeral Chapel, Dick Teeter called the change a, "disservice to all the postal customers." He explained that the Postal Service is "screwed up" because there is, "no concept of customer service" with the increase in prices and long lines. Although the plan is to save money, Teeter said he does not see it happening since parcels will still be delivered on Saturday and personnel will be working.

Teeter said he remembers a time when the business community in Hawley got two mail deliveries a day and a letter could be sent to someone down the street one day and it would be received the following day. The change, Teeter said is, "like adding molasses to the whole system."

Changes reviewed

In a document on the Postal Service’s website, Patrick R. Donahoe, Postmaster General and CEO said part of the reasoning for the change is because of a ‘strong growth’ of the Postal Service’s package business and ‘the financial realities resulting from America’s changing habits.’ Donahoe said the new plan was derived after working with postal customers and trying to find ways to save money.

According to the website, when the new delivery schedule starts in August, mail delivery to street addresses will be Monday through Friday. But mail addressed to p.o. boxes will continue to be delivered on Saturday and post offices currently open on Saturday, will remain open on Saturday.

Because of the Postal Service’s ongoing financial issues, the website said since 2006, the Postal Service has reduced its annual cost base by approximately $15 billion, along with a reduction in the size of its career workforce by 193,000 and more than 200 mail processing locations have been consolidated.

The Postal Service does not receive any tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on postage sales, products and services to fund operations. A supervisor in the Hawley Post Office, Orrett Campbell said because the government does not help the Postal Service, the schedule change is "one way we’re going to generate some revenue" which is a positive thing because the Postal Service, he said, has to pre-fund their own retirement funds. Plus, he added, "who wants junk mail on Saturdays anyway?"