A fter months of speculation, the U.S. Postal Service has confirmed that the Clemons Post Office will be closing next month.
U.S. Postal Service Northeast area spokesperson Maureen Marion announced last Thursday that the small post office, located in a log cabin style building on the western side of Route 22 in Clemons, will close following business onJan. 6, 2012.
“This was a very difficult decision and not one we took lightly, but there were a number of factors that helped contribute to this decision,”Marionsaid.
Among those factors were a low volume of daily transactions and the cost of operating the facility.
Marionestimates the Postal Service could save up to $44,000 a year by closing the post office and offering curbside service.
Most services, including the delivery and pickup of mail and packages could be done by a rural route carrier and stamps could be purchased by mail order, she said.
“They’ll continue to get the same type of service they were getting at the post office,” she said.
Any services that can’t be provided by rural route carriers will be available at the post offices inWhitehalland Huletts Landing.
Marionsaid the post office will remain on its regular schedule through the holidays so customers can continue to receive and mail their holiday gifts as they have always done.
The U.S. Postal Service has been studying the closure of the post office for the past several months and ultimately determined that the advantages of closing the branch outweighed the disadvantages.
According to the study, the retail window averaged eight transactions per day, accounting for approximately eight minutes of retail workload daily.
The branch also appeared to be hemorrhaging money.
Between labor costs, the cost of leasing the building, and other operating expenses, Clemons cost the postal service just over $49,000 a year even though it only took in $15,187 in the 2008 fiscal year, $14,607 in 2009, and $12,431 in 2010.
After factoring in the cost of replace services, officials concluded they could save about $44,000 a year.
“You roll those things together: not a full days worth of work, the cost of operating the facility … it all contributed to our decision,” Marion said.
Besides the financial concerns, the Clemons Post Office was studied because they were without a fulltime postmaster after the woman who filled that rolled passed away.
As part of the study, 38 questionnaires were distributed to delivery customers of the post office and nine were returned with one favorable response regarding the potential closure, five unfavorable and three who expressed no opinion. Officials were also available at the Whitehall Post Office in May to listen to concerns residents had about the potential closure, but only eight people attended.
At the time, some residents questioned why the Clemons Post Office was targeted for closure while the Huletts Landing Post Office was not.
Officials said the Huletts Landing office serves more customers and its closure would present a greater burden on residents to travel, especially during the winter months.
Results of that study were posted at the post offices inWhitehall, Clemons and Huletts Landing earlier this spring.
The post office was given a reprieve of sorts in July when another document was posted for 120 days alerting customers that the branch was being studied for closure.
Although a final decision hadn’t been made at the time, the acting postmaster, Debbie Winkler said she felt it was only a matter of time before the postal service closed its doors.
The decision to close Clemons is not unique.
The Postal Service has proposed the closure or consolidation of 2,000 stations and branches across the nation in an effort to help the cash-strapped organization.
The U.S. Postal Service lost nearly $8.5 billion in the 2010 fiscal year and the number of deliveries has continued to decline over the five years because of increased reliance on electronic mail.
Rural post offices have been especially impacted and several branches in the region have been closed or tagged for closure with branches in South Glens Falls and Riparius closed and several others studied for closure.