OTISFIELD — The U.S. Postal Service has decided to leave the town’s only post box in place.

In a three-sentence statement issued at about 5 p.m. Tuesday by Tom Rizzo, district communications coordinator for the Northern New England District of the U.S. Postal Service, the agency said it had made the decision after reviewing the case.

 “Even during these difficult times for the Postal Service, we understand and appreciate the fact that our customers rely on and trust us to handle their most important correspondence,” Rizzo wrote. “We hope to continue serving them as we have for the past 234 years.”

Town Clerk Sharon Matthews said she was “ecstatic” to hear the news.

The controversy over the removal of the mailbox made national news last month after the blue collection box, which sits in the driveway of the Otisfield Town Hall on Route 121, was given a 10-day notice for removal.

The move by the Postal Service as a cost-saving measure prompted town officials and residents to spring into action by threatening to chain themselves to the box. A town employee moved the claw of the town’s backhoe over the mailbox to prevent it from being taken. Townspeople also contacted state legislators and U.S. Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe for help.

The name and telephone number of Mike Doyle, customer relations at the Postal Service in Portland, was placed on the town’s billboard when officials were dissatisfied with his response to the problem.

Matthews said Tuesday night that it proves people can make a difference.

The box serves the town’s 1,750 residents, who have not had a post office in more than 50 years. They have to drive to Oxford — 5 miles away — to use that facility. In the summertime, the town’s population doubles.

Rizzo said Tuesday night that the Postal Service would have no further comment on the issue. Previously, he said the decision to remove the box was made because the Postal Service did not believe the box was used enough and was losing money on it.

With a $6 million deficit this year, cutbacks must be made, Rizzo said.

In a July 24 e-mail to the Sun Journal, Rizzo clarified that statement, saying that from 1970 to 2006, the Postal Service was required by federal law to “break even over time.” The requirement was changed in December 2006 with the passage of the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act.

“While the USPS has been authorized to be ‘in the black’ since 2006, it is not currently the case due to declining mail volumes and revenue, exacerbated by the economic recession which began soon after the new law was passed,” Rizzo wrote.

Rizzo said the Postal Service is not a profit-making enterprise and that its intention is to achieve revenue that exceeds costs and postage rates that are affordable for all Americans.

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