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Business and the Economy

What Would Losing a Tiny Town's Post Office Look Like?

http://ozarkspub.vo.llnwd.net/o37/KSMU/audio/mp3/what-would-losing-tiny-town-s-post-office-look_23711.mp3

Residents of the small town of Hurley, just a few miles northeast of Crane, recently found out that their post office could be shutting down. One local resident says cutting the mail service could have negative repercussions for other businesses in the area. KSMU’s Rebekah Clark has the story.

Jeffery Goss works as an agricultural journalist and lives just a few miles down the road from the existing post office in Hurley. He says the population is 170.  As a resident for more than six years, Goss found it alarming when he received word that one of the central parts of the town might be shutting down.

“Earlier, like this spring, I had heard just as a rumor somebody who said she thought the Hurley Post Office would probably be on the closure list. And when they came out with the proposal list a couple of months ago, sure enough, it was listed.”

The “closure list” Goss refers to was released by the U.S. Postal Service earlier this year. In recent years, the federal organization has made drastic cuts due to lack of revenue and the trend of electronic mail. However, Goss believes that there are other reasons the Postal Service is struggling.

“The post office is basically like the layers of an onion. You have a lot of unnecessary layers of people who never touch a piece of mail and never deal with a customer that are a lot of space-filling positions that have to be paid. There are also a lot of practices in which the management is inefficient.”

Goss believes that if the proposal does go through and his post office is shut down, the effects on the rural town’s economy would be terrible. He says that the town of Hurley would have to merge with another local town, like Crane. And he says that could affect other local industries, like Hurley’s black walnut harvest every fall.

“There is a rule that a town cannot have more than one walnut station. If Hurley was merged into another town, it would appear that this other town, which would probably be Crane, would have two walnut stations and the Hurley one would have to close. Well, for one, the Crane one is already crowded as it is, and not just that, but it’s some distance away.”

His point? No post office, no town.

“A post office in an urban community is a convenience, and a post office in a rural community is a necessity. It’s meant that there are other ways to get mail sent in a city that aren’t found in a small town.” 

Goss said he has looked at U.S. Code, and it appears to him that the U.S. Postal Service could be breaking federal law by shutting down a mail service merely because of profit. To see a link to the official U.S. Code on postal service management, you can visit our website:  www.KSMU.org.

For KSMU News, I’m Rebekah Clark.

Link to U.S. Code Title 39: click here