OUR VIEW: Difficult to defend some villages on post office closure listAfter reading about the many potential closures of post offices in South Dakota, we find it difficult to come to the defense of some of the tiny towns that find themselves on the list.
After reading about the many potential closures of post offices in South Dakota, we find it difficult to come to the defense of some of the tiny towns that find themselves on the list.
Onaka, for instance, is an inhabitance of some 15 souls in Faulk County and is among 80 small towns and villages on the potential closure list in South Dakota. There are many towns like Onaka on the list, including a few in the Mitchell region.
That the United States Postal Service is hemorrhaging money is no secret. Most recent reports put the loss at billions per year, which to us is an insurmountable shortfall. Although something obviously must be fixed, we don’t mind the USPS losing money, since the USPS provides a necessary service to it customers. A subsidized Postal Service is better than no service at all.
Some say cutting Saturday delivery is a good place to start. We don’t like that idea, since it would reduce access to mail service for everyone.
Meanwhile, many of the post offices on the Postal Service’s closure list — which numbers more than 3,600 nationally — have annual revenue of less than $30,000 but annual expenses of $100,000 or more. Although it’s likely to create hardships for people in those villages, we can’t disagree that some of these proposed closures are obviously necessary.
Too, the USPS has proposed creating “village post offices” in some of those towns. Through that method, residents could conduct their postal business through contracted workers at places like libraries, grocery stores and the like. That means there could still be some form of post office presence in many of these areas. Do we agree that eliminating post offices in towns of 150 or 200 residents — such as nearby Letcher — is a good idea? Not necessarily. Around here, 200 residents form a fairly common-sized town. And cutting postal service to county seats — such as Gann Valley and Olivet — may not be in the best interest of the government or the people. But those towns of 15, 20 or 25 residents? In their case, it’s hard to disagree with the Postal Service’s proposal.