The U.S. Postal Service is considering closing several Iowa post offices in a cost-saving move, including one that serves the southwest Iowa town of Grant. Richard Watkins, a spokesman for the postal service, says the postmaster in Grant retired last summer and a temporary person has been managing the Montgomery County operation since then.
“Given our financial circumstances, there’s a sense of urgency among postal operations managers and our postmasters to make sure we provide the best universal service to all of our customers,” Watkins says. If that includes a traditional brick-and-mortar post office, great, he says, but if there’s a cheaper, better alternative, it will be considered.
Watkins says he understands communities’ fears about losing their post office as it’s part of a town’s identity, but competition from other services has forced the agency to rethink the way it works. “The reality is, in these times of increased email, texting, electronic transfer of funds, e-bill paying and so forth, the revenue is simply not there,” Watkins says.
“The postal service is not tax-supported and we rely on money from the sale of stamps and other postal services to fund our daily operations.” Customers would still be able to use the Grant ZIP code in their addresses and retail services will continue to be available 17-miles away at the Villisca Post Office or ten miles away in Elliott.
Watkins says business as usual will not work anymore. He says the Grant post office averages only 12 transactions a day. “There’s not enough business to sustain and justify having an employee there for a few hours a day,” Watkins says.
A community meeting is scheduled for 6:30 P.M. on Wednesday (Feb. 23rd) at the United Methodist Church in Grant to answer residents’ questions and address their concerns.
Watkins says if the Grant Post Office were to close, there would still be pickup and delivery of mail, along with the sale of stamps and other traditional services at what are called “cluster box units,” which are served by a neighboring post office.
By Ric Hanson, KJAN, Atlantic