Post office ending Saturday delivery this year

In the latest in a series of cost-cutting move, the U. S. Postal Service announced last week it would end Saturday home mail delivery beginning the week of Aug. 5.

Postmaster General, and CEO, Patrick Donahoe said the switch would save the postal service about $2 billion annually.

But Donahoe said the postal service would continue to delivery packages six days a week and those post offices now open on Saturdays, like Rockdale’s, will continue to remain open.

Package delivery has been one of the post office’s success stories in recent years as the primacy of e-mail and phone texting has drastically cut the volume of mail deliveries.

First-class mail, in the category of single-piece volume, has declined by 20 percent in just two years.

The post office delivered 28.9 billion pieces in 2010, 25.8 billion in 2011 and 23.2 billion last year.

But package deliveries have increased by 14 percent since 2010—assisted by continuing use of the likes of Amazon and eBay—the postal service has been accommodating that end of the business.

Over the past several years the postal service has advocated shifting to a five-day delivery schedule for mail and packages.

Many counties are already on a five-day delivery schedule.

But Congress has been reluctant to approve any such move. While the U S. Postal Service is technically an independent agency, and gets no tax money for its day-to-day operations, it is subject to congressional control.

Congress had included a ban on five-day delivery in its appropriation bill.

But the agency, which lost $15.9-billion last year, thinks it has an opening to act because the federal government is currently operating under a temporary spending measure rather than an appropriations bill, Donahoe said the postal service can make the change itself.

“Our financial condition is urgent,” Donahoe said. “This is too big of a cost savings for us to ignore.”

Over the past two years the agency has closed some smaller post office, cut back hours at locations like Milano and Buckholts and consolidated some larger operations.

Last month the service began routing all of Rockdale’s mail through Austin, instead of Waco as the Waco plant is being closed in a cost-cutting move.

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