Monday, Feb. 20, 2012
COMMENTARY: No sense in reducing Raymore postal service
By Charlene Hubach, Special to The Democrat Missourian
There is the misconception that cutting costs in the Postal Service will affect the Federal budget and debt. It wont and cant as the Postal Service has its own budget and its revenue, and losses are not included in any part of the national debt. It gets no tax money from Congress or the American citizens. It is not subsidized by Congress in any way. Its revenue comes from the sale of stamps, box rents and selling postal products to the American people. The customers of the Raymore Postal Service supported it last year by providing more than $1 million in revenue, one 44-cent stamp at a time.
Not everyone in Raymore has home access to a computer and goes online to transact business. Based on the lines at the Raymore Post office, especially on Saturdays, many people do use it. The mileage and the time involved to transact business in Belton rather than Raymore is considerable. The entrance to the Belton Post Office is worse than in Raymore. Also there are no traffic signals nearby to relieve traffic congestion. No savings for Raymore citizens here.
The Postal Service cannot show that increasing costs by spending more carrier time and mileage (four miles each way times six days times 52 weeks plus extra road time in traffic for each carrier) to provide the same service is cost effective. Every one-cent increase in gasoline costs the Postal Service $8 million as its postal vehicle fleet of 218,000 is the largest in the world. No postal savings here.
It cannot show that Belton has ample parking to handle the daily increase of 13 additional carrier personnel and postal vehicle as well as general public traffic. No convenience for customers here.
The Postal Service cannot show that there is a saving in Kansas City to Raymore mail being rerouted to Kansas City to Belton to Raymore when the postal semi passes right by the Raymore Post Office on its way to Pleasant Hill. There is no postal savings in the double handling of mail and later delivery.
The Postal Service cannot show that a postal-owned building housing a maximum of one postmaster and one or two postal clerks will be cheaper to maintain than the same building housing 25 employees. Utilities and maintenance costs would remain the same. No postal savings here. All of the above are all real costs. How long would it take the Postal Service to decide that such a large building with only two or three people in it was not economically feasible to keep open, and then we wouldnt even have retail service? That is a very real scenario.
The only real savings is that with the workloads reduced to just window and post office box service, there will be no need for a Level 20 Postmaster and Level 15 Superintendent of Postal Operations. They will be replaced by a Level 13 or 15 Postmaster. That level of postmaster is not found in a post office of the first class but is more as a fourth or maybe a third class office. Raymore Post Office will have gone from first class status to little more than a small rural post office.
Although we have cell phones, we still need and have landline service. Although we have Internet, we still need the postal service to provide what online communication cant, which is first class mail. Our U.S. Constitution says that the Post Office has a monopoly on first class mail receipt and delivery. Some of you may not receive or send first class mail, but most of us do. Only the post office can legally deliver it.
I have briefly covered costs and legality. Now for the elusive quality: community pride.
Raymore is a home rule city with a population of 20,000, a first class city. Shouldnt we also have a post office of the first class providing first class service? Raymore is the only city in Cass County which is having such drastic changes made in its service.
What happens to our post office affects the entire city. I love Raymore and cant bear the thought that we would be willing to give up something so basic to our lives. Remember the old saying, you never miss the water until the well runs dry? That applies to postal service also.