March 09, 2011 Edition

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Alicia Post Office could be closed

Alicia has been notified that the post office there may be closed as part of congressional budget cutting efforts. Approximately 50 people attended a meeting to discuss the possibility on March 3.

Patti Robinson, district manager of marketing with the U.S. Postal Service, was to have conducted the meeting, but was unable to attend. Attending were postal service representatives, John R. Confer II, Chuck Hamilton and Mark Merritt.

It was emphasized that this is a study and no decisions have been made, but many citizens are concerned that the loss of the post office would mean added hardship for many of them.

It has been suggested that Alicia's postal services will be moved to Swifton and this has further amplified the concern.

"Alicia has many residents who are on a fixed income and some of them do not drive, said Alicia resident Larry Corbett. "They must depend on others for transportation. Some even need assistance to get their mail. Relocating our post office to Swifton would make using the postal services harder for them."

A slow economy and lack of sales revenue is being cited as the reason behind the proposal to close many smaller post offices. The study is focusing on post offices without a postmaster first.

More people are using the convenience of online payments, e-mail and other communication services instead of first class mail. The bulk of the postal services delivery now consists of third class mail, which is basically advertising.

Post offices must pay rent, utilities, salaries, employee benefits and other expenses from the revenue they make. The postal service receives no funds from the government.

The representatives attending the meeting said that if the decision is made in Washington to close the post office at Alicia, the local office will be given 90 days to implement the order.

"We don't want to lose our post office," Corbett said. "In many ways a small town's identify is connected to the post office. In the long run, we might lose our sense of identity."

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