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Posted: Thursday, January 24, 2013 9:32 am

WAHOO – Several area post offices will forego drastic changes in the near future.

According to USPS regional spokesman Brian Sperry, the residents of Prague, Mead, Malmo, Valparaiso, Weston, Yutan, Morse Bluff, Ithaca, Colon, Cedar Bluffs, Bruno and Brainard have already received or will receive a survey conducted by USPS.

Survey recipients are given four options; reduce current operating hours, opt for a rural carrier, allow for a local business to operate the post office or rely on P.O. Box service from another nearby post office.

The post offices will stay open with reduced hours unless 60 percent of survey respondents prefer another option, according to Sperry.

“Affected post offices will remain open with reduced hours unless the community has a strong preference for another option,” he said. “The proposed hours are based on offices’ workload and represent the usage by the community.”

Prague, Weston, Morse Bluff and Bruno Post Offices would be reduced from eight hours to four hours; Mead, Valparaiso, Cedar Bluffs, Brainard and Yutan from eight to six; Ithaca from eight to two; Colon and Malmo from six to two.

“Saturday hours and access to P.O. Boxes will remain the same,” said Sperry.

Each town’s post office management will present and discuss the results of the survey at community meetings.

Sperry stated that each community’s surveys should be returned two weeks before the town’s scheduled meeting.

The residents of each town will receive a letter informing them when and where the meeting will be held.

“All information and comments will be taken into account,” he added.

No changes will be made within 30 days following the community meetings.

Malmo’s meeting took place on Dec. 3. and Ithaca’s meeting was held on Jan. 22.

Prague will meet on Jan. 24 at 6 p.m. at the Prague Parish Hall, Weston on Jan. 30 at 6 p.m. in the Weston Fire Department meeting room, Colon on Feb. 5 at 6 p.m. at the Colon Fire Department meeting hall and Brainard on Feb. 6 at 1 p.m. at the Brainard City Hall.

Other times and locations have yet to be announced.

The review of these post offices is part of a two-year review process of more than 13,000 post offices nationwide. USPS originally proposed closing 3,700 offices.

“Now, we are moving forward with a plan to keep post offices open by reducing operating hours depending on use,” Sperry said.

The action is expected to save USPS $500 million annually starting in September 2014, just a small amount compared to the $15.9 billion USPS reported in losses in the fiscal year 2012.

“We’ll have to adjust like any company,” confided Sperry.

USPS reports that single class first class mail volume is down by more than 50 percent since 2002, and total mail volume is down 25 percent since 2006.

Sperry added that USPS is not funded by tax dollars.

(Staff Reporter Erik Dodge contributed to this report.)

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