By Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – At least eight Northeast Mississippi post offices could close as part of a national downsizing announced by the U.S. Postal Service.
The USPS on Tuesday released a list of nearly 3,700 retail outlets it wants to shutter as increasingly more correspondence shifts from snail mail to email.
Sixty-one of the targeted sites are in Mississippi, with most located in rural areas.
Post offices cited in region are: Michigan City in Benton County, Waterford in Marshall County, Gattman and Greenwood Springs in Monroe County, Randolph in Pontotoc County, Dumas and Tiplersville in Tippah County, and Etta in Union County.
“That’d be terrible,” said Jerry Henson, the former mayor of Dumas, population 470, upon hearing the news. “It’s our only post office. It’s pretty small.”
The village option
Because the proposed closures would leave many communities without a post office, the USPS wants to partner with third-party retailers. They would offer postal services and products – like stamps and mailings. The concept is called a Village Post Office, and it’s already in place in some areas.
“Today, more than 35 percent of the Postal Service’s retail revenue comes from expanded access locations such as grocery stores, drug stores, office supply stores, retail chains, self-service kiosks, ATMs and usps.com, open 24/7,” said Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe in a statement. “Our customer’s habits have made it clear that they no longer require a physical post office to conduct most of their postal business.”
The announcement comes amid tough times for the USPS, which has struggled for years with declining revenue and now faces bankruptcy. Last year alone the agency lost $8 billion.
In addition to the proposed retail closures, the USPS also has consolidated dozens of mail-processing centers nationwide to save money. It’s currently considering a similar consolidation in Tupelo, which processes roughly 100,000 pieces of incoming and outgoing mail daily. If it goes through, those operations would move to Grenada.
The USPS didn’t say when it would conclude its study of the proposed retail closures, and it’s possible that some of those on the list will remain open. Of the 1,400 outlets the agency announced it would study for shutdown earlier this year, many already learned they will avoid that fate.