A local congressman is trying to preserve services provided by the U.S. Postal Service as the organization is talking about cutting them.
"This has been a real big issue, particularly out in the rural communities," U.S. Rep. Bill Owens said in a Thursday conference call with reporters. "Folks really understand how important the local post office is in terms of obviously the service it provides itself, but also the community service it provides."
Owens, a Democrat from Plattsburgh, introduced a bill Thursday that would require the USPS to review and consider co-locating post offices at retail facilities and municipal buildings, including post offices that have already closed and ones under the threat of closure. That has occurred in some areas like Keene Valley, where a post office opened up in McDonough's Adirondack Hardware store Monday, but it hasn't been done for others slated for closure.
Rep. Bill Owens
(Enterprise file photo)
"This legislation offers a solution that cuts costs without sacrificing critical services for New Yorkers," Owens said in a press release. "Closing post offices in our region is not the same as shutting down facilities in an urban area, especially when the nearest location can be as far as 15 miles away. While that might not seem like a lot, imagine doing it in the middle of a New York winter."
In addition to the Keene Valley post office, which was closed for about a year before the new "village post office" opened this week, the USPS has put Rainbow Lake and Piercefield post offices on the chopping block and is now reviewing the possibility of closing a Plattsburgh mail processing plant, which would likely delay all the region's mail by a day or two as it's sent to Albany for processing.
Owens said he's been disappointed with what the USPS has done so far to close budget gaps, saying it has taken the "easy route" and not paid attention to the needs of each community.
"It has largely been perfunctory and did not give the people of the New York 23rd a feeling that their thoughts and concerns were being really considered by the postal service," Owens said.
Contact Jessica Collier at 518-891-2600 ext. 25 or firstname.lastname@example.org.