B y Derek Liebig
A local post office that has been studied for closure by the U.S. Postal Service isn’t closing . . .yet.
Debbie Winkler, the acting postmaster at the Clemons Post Office said Monday that she has not heard from the Postal Service whether the small branch located on Route 22 would be closed, but has been instructed to remove the current notice and post another.
“I’m supposed to take the posting down Thursday and put up another that will be up for 120 days,” she said.
But that 120-day reprieve may be it.
“I think it will close eventually; it may not be until September or October,” Winkler said.
The U.S. Postal Service has been studying the closure of the post office for the last several months and has determined that the advantages of closing the office outweigh the disadvantages.
The primary reasons the office is being studied for closure are the postmaster position has been vacant since February of 2010 and the office has experienced a low volume of business.
According to their findings, the retail window averaged eight transactions per day, accounting for approximately eight minutes of retail workload daily.
The postal service feels that they can effectively replace the services provided at the office with rural route service at a minimal expense.
After factoring in the cost of replacement service, officials concluded that they could save $44,941 annually.
The study revealed that the office cost the postal service $49,079, although it took in only $15, 187 in the 2008 fiscal year; $14,607 in the 2009 fiscal year; and $12,431 in 2010.
Besides the financial reasons, the Clemons Post Office was studied because they’ve been without a full-time postmaster since the previous postmaster passed away. Winkler has filled the role since but also works at other offices in the area.
The post office in Clemons is one of two in the town of Dresden, the other being in Huletts Landing.
There was some question as to why the Clemons Post Office was being studied for closure while the Huletts Landing office was not.
Officials said the Huletts Landing office serves more customers and has an incumbent Postmaster. They also cited the difficult terrain that Huletts customers would have to travel in the winter to access an alternative post office while Clemons customers would have the relatively easy commute to Whitehall, the office indicated as the best alternative for customers who needed services above and beyond what rural route carriers could provide.
Copies of the closure proposal are available at the Clemons, Huletts Landing and Whitehall Post Offices.
If a final determination is made to close the post office, an official notice will be posted and customers will have the chance to appeal the decision within 30 days of the posting.
The Postal Service lost nearly $8.5 billion in the 2010 fiscal year and the number of deliveries has continued to decline over the last five years due to increase reliance on electronic mail and the recession which has decreased the volume of advertising mail.
Rural post offices have been especially affected and several branches in the Adirondacks have been closed or tagged for closure.
The postal service recently confirmed that the branch in South Glens Falls would be closing and announced a list of 3,653 locations around the country that will be studied to determine if they should be closed.
None of those listed for study in the new list fall within Washington County, however.