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Area residents concerned about future of post offices

October 01, 2012|By CALEB CALHOUN | caleb.calhoun@herald-mail.com

The U.S. Postal Service defaulted on its second multibillion dollar payment Monday, raising concern among some area residents about the future of the post offices they routinely visit.

“I’d be really upset if they close the Funkstown Post Office down,” said Funkstown resident John Chirgott, 67. “I get medication through the post office, along with my mail.”

Chirgott, like many residents in towns across the county, uses his town’s post office to receive his mail because many smaller towns, such as Funkstown, do not have home mail-delivery service.

Postal service officials have said there will be no disruptions in post office operations, according to published reports, but area residents remained skeptical Monday.

Hagerstown resident Julie Miller, 65, uses the Funkstown Post Office to buy stamps, and send mail and packages. She said she is somewhat concerned that the financial problems of the agency could cause post offices in towns like Funkstown to close. 

“I’d have to go to the Hagerstown Post Office then, and parking there is not the greatest,” she said. “It’s very convenient here. I love everything about it.”

Waynesboro, Pa., resident Will Kauffman works in Washington County and uses the Funkstown Post Office because of its convenience. He said he is confident the issue will be resolved.

“It’s a needed service in the way we do what we do, so I’m guessing that greater minds than mine will sort out the economics of it and get moving in a more positive direction,” he said. “Some sort of postal service is necessary, so there will have to be some changes made based on the negative aspect of how their budget and the economy has affected them.”

The agency missed a $5.6 billion payment due at the end of September, according to reports. That makes two missed payments totaling $11.1 billion for future retiree health benefits. Losses are expected to reach $15 billion this year, according to published reports.

Patricia Earley, 73, of Smithsburg, gets her mail from the Smithsburg Post Office, and uses it to send regular mail and packages. She said the federal government should help out the agency.

“They help banks out, so why can’t they help out the postal service?” she asked. 

Suggestions for solving the agency’s debt problems include stopping mail deliveries on Saturdays and reducing its annual payments for future retiree health benefits, according to reports.

Ronald Socks, 68, of Hagerstown, visits the post office on West Franklin Street about once a month and had some suggestions on how the agency could save money.

“They don’t know how to manage their money, and perhaps they could get rid of some of the employees,” he said. “They should also take weekends off. They don’t need to deliver mail on Saturday.”

Socks said he uses FedEx or UPS to mail packages, and could find other ways around what he needs to do if he could not use the post office.

Hagerstown resident Mary Wilson, 49, has a post office box at the post office on West Franklin Street and said she uses it more than other delivery services.

“I take my mail there, drop it off, and I know it’s getting to where it’s going,” she said. “I trust it more, and it’s simpler.”

John Neal, 68, of Smithsburg, said he relies on the post office for all of his mail.

“I’ve lived here all my life and I’ve always had a mailbox at the Smithsburg Post Office,” he said. “I don’t know what I’d do without it.”

The Rev. Glenn Capacchione, 53, minister at Saint Paul’s United Methodist Church in Smithsburg, said he and his church use the post office in town. 

“It’s crucial to the community,” he said. “We receive quite a bit of mail from the post office, and all the mailings from the church are done through here.”

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