Residents have say on proposed closing of post office

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Letters and concerns on the proposed closing of the East Livermore Post Office may be sent to USPS, care of Kathy Rokowaski, Consumer Affairs, 151 Forest Ave., Portland, ME 04101.

Concerns can also be voiced to Maine’s U.S. congressional delegation: Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, by calling 786-2451, Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, 784-6969, and Rep. Michael Michaud, D-Maine, 782-3704.

LIVERMORE FALLS — Irene Buck told U.S. Postal Service representatives Tuesday night that she did not want to see the East Livermore Post Office closed.

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“I feel that the post office should stay there and I am not alone,” Buck, a 42-year patron of the East Livermore office, said.

The U.S. Postal Service held a town meeting on the proposed discontinuance of the East Livermore Post Office on Park Street/Route 133.

Some residents of East Livermore who use that post office turned out to have their say.

The post office is one of 34 in Maine and one of 3,700 post offices nationwide the Postal Service is considering closing to save money and streamline its operations.

Randy Michaud, U.S. Postal Service manager of post office operations for ZIP codes that begin with 042, 043 and 049, said the notice of the proposed discontinuance of the East Livermore Post Office was posted in that office on Dec. 23, 2011, and will stay up until Feb. 23. During that time people may write letters to the Postal Service to give their comments, he said.

The Postal Service began a study of 3,700 post offices last fall looking at criteria that included hours needed to process the mail and declining revenue.

Over a 10-year period the closing of the East Livermore office would save $560,899, Michaud said.

All of the letters and comments will be collected and reviewed with a recommendation being sent to headquarters, he said.

No post offices will be closed until May 15.

“We’re going to go through a process,” Michaud said.

Sixty of the 100 post office boxes at the East Livermore Post Office are rented, he said.

If the decision is to close that office, then either a free-style carousel with four sides of post office boxes can be set up at the Livermore Falls Post Office or there is a possibility of setting up a village post office with a carousel at Pike’s Corner Oasis, a convenience store, up the road. The latter would have to be negotiated, Michaud said.

A rural carrier would put the mail and parcels in the boxes, Michaud said, and then lock them.

With all the crime happening, Buck said she doesn’t have to worry about her mail now because she feels it is safe at the post office.

Putting a carousel at Pike’s Corner Oasis sounds like a good deal, resident Dick Hoisington said.

“We’re trying to make it as convenient as possible,” Michaud said.

Those gathered say they currently travel between 12 to 15 miles to get their mail and they don’t want to go farther.

Michaud answered questions on specifics, including the rent for the current office, which is $11,000 a year.

The revenues brought in over the past five years is $24,327 in 2007; $26,303, 2008; $25,952, 2009; $23,541, 2010; and $24,482 in 2011, Michaud said.

He also explained the appeal process that can occur within 30 days of a final decision on the closure. The notice of closure will be posted at the East Livermore Post Office, he said.

“Use the process and write your letters and concerns,” Michaud said.

If a patron decides to stay with a post office box, then their address would remain the same. If they opt to put a mailbox in front of their residence, then the address would change, he said.

Asked about how they would get money orders, Michaud said, rural carriers could do it and bring the money order the next day.

There are several post offices nearby where people can set up a post office box, Michaud said.

“I’m sorry. We want to keep the post office,” Buck said. “I like to go in and get the mail and have a conversation.”

Karen Staples, a Maine staff assistant for Sen. Olympia Snow, R-Maine, said residents can also call their congressional representatives to voice concerns.

Snowe is opposed to closing post offices in Maine, Staples said.

Charlie Barker, owner of Pike’s, asked if there was room to add more post office boxes.

“There is plenty of room to grow,” Michaud said.

dperry@sunjournal.com

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