Dawson County residents spoke their piece last week on the U.S. Postal Service’s plans to cut Saturday deliveries.
Some felt it was a necessary measure in the midst of a down economy. Like Amy Lee, a Dawsonville resident.
“It’s better than them laying folks off,” said Lee on March 5, as she exited the Dawsonville post office. “If it saves somebody a job, they should do whatever they can to cut costs.”
After reporting net losses annually since 2007, the postal service outlined steps to trim its expenses, including a five-day delivery schedule.
According to the plan, titled “Ensuring a Viable Postal Service for America: An Action Plan for the Future,” eliminating Saturday deliveries could save about $3 billion annually.
Michael Miles, spokesman for the Atlanta U.S. Postal Service District, said it would take congressional approval to move the matter forward.
“Because six-day delivery is written into the law, we can’t make that change without congressional approval,” said Miles, adding that once approved, five-day delivery could take effect within six months.
“The postmaster general has expressed his desire that we implement this as early in 2011 as possible, because obviously everyday is money, and we would like to start reaping the savings as early as possible,” Miles said.
That’s all fine with Dawson County resident Roger Cantrell, “as long as it doesn’t slow down delivery worse than it already is.”
Cantrell sells items online, and said he currently experiences “crazy lag times for shipping and receiving ... but it’s a recession. They got to do what they got to do.”
Miles said the recession has affected the postal service “just like every other business. Our challenge is to deal with the downturn, which has severely affected mail volume, and so as long as the economy is down, mail volume is down, and that affects revenues.”
The Atlanta district —covering almost everything north of Macon — has seen a decrease in mail volume of about 14 percent, Miles said.
“The alternative,” he said, “is to raise rates, but we do believe this is a good proposal and one of the best steps we can take toward reducing costs.”