Locals unconcerned about 5-day letter delivery
Gary Pinnell | Highlands TodaySEBRING Five-day delivery? Doesn't bother Rodney Mutchler.
Published: February 13, 2013
Published: February 13, 2013
"How many days a week do you need mail?" groused Mutchler, who is moving to Sebring from Somers Point, N.J. "Everybody complains about taxes, but nobody is willing to give up anything."
Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe is: "Our financial condition is urgent."
Saturday mail may soon go the way of penny postcards. The Postal Service announced Wednesday it will cut back to five-day-a-week deliveries in August.
What about people and businesses that actually need their Saturday mail?
"They need to plan ahead," suggested Pam Neal, a part-time resident of Sebring and Indian Lakes, Ohio.
In the past, Congress has blocked eliminating Saturday delivery, and Donahoe's announcement quickly drew protests from some lawmakers.
Not U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney, Rooney, R-Okeechobee: "They had to do something. Their current model was obviously not working. Government is being cut across the board, and the post office isn't an exception. I wish them all the best moving forward."
The Postal Service lost $15.9 billion in the past budget year, but expects to save $2 billion annually with the Saturday letter and magazine delivery cutback. If Congress agrees, all-sized packages will be delivered six days a week.
"How are they going to save money doing that?" asked Kent Miller, who moved to Sebring from Imperial, Neb. Does he still send cards and letters?
"My wife takes care of that," he said with a guilty smile. "Email has taken over for what I need to do."
Yes, the Internet, the radically re-ordered, free-messaging world for which the Postal Service blames for its financial losses. Electronic messaging has decreased the mailing of paper letters, but then again online purchases have increased package shipping.
"Things change," Donahoe said. His no-Saturday plan accentuates a strong point: package delivery has increased by 14 percent since 2010, while letter delivery and other mail has plummeted.
Truth is, the Postal Service has adapted to changing times ever since Benjamin Franklin was appointed the first postmaster general by the Continental Congress in 1775. The Pony Express began in 1860; six-day delivery started in 1863; and airmail flew into action after World War I.
Twice-a-day delivery was cut to one in 1950 to save money.
"I don't remember that," said Miller. "I'm old enough. I was born in 1940, but I grew up on a farm."
Change isn't the biggest factor in the agency's predicament. The majority of the service's red ink comes from a federal 2006 law forcing it to pay about $5.5 billion a year into future retiree health benefits, something no other agency does.
Without that, the agency would have lost only $2.4 billion last year, lower than the previous fiscal year. Congress also has also kept open post offices in small towns.
Two Republican lawmakers sent a supportive letter to House and Senate leaders. It's "common-sense reform," wrote House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chair Darrell Issa of California, and Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Tom Coburn of Oklahoma.
"It's fine with me," said Dwight Ricker of Sebring. "I don't get much mail on the other days anyway."
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