The United States Postal Service announced plans Wednesday to transition to a new delivery schedule beginning in early August. The change is expected save USPS an estimated $2 billion annually.
The good news for some local postal patrons is that all local offices - Glen Rose, Walnut Springs, Rainbow, Nemo and Paluxy - are expected to maintain their current operating schedules. And postal service customers who have their mail delivered to post office boxes will not see a change in their current weekend service.
The overall plan is to cut back the number of days letters are delivered to homes and businesses across the nation. Once implemented, mail will only be delivered to street addresses Monday through Friday, but packages will still be delivered six days per week.
Letters addressed to post office boxes will continue to be delivered on Saturday, and post offices currently open on Saturday will maintain that schedule.
The Glen Rose post office has a total of 2,500 post office boxes, with an estimated 70 percent currently rented, according to Sam Bolen, USPS spokesman. Community members who want to continue to receive weekend letter deliveries after August are advised to retain a box inside the local office.
What the looming change means for the local workforce is not currently clear.
"The impact on employment will not be known for some time," Bolen said Wednesday. "In the coming months, we will see how routes need to be adjusted."
The postal service has seen an estimated 25 percent decline in the letter business due to electronic commerce, including email communication and the ability to pay and receive bills online.
But the World Wide Web could also be partially responsible for an upturn in USPS parcel business as shoppers order products online and have them delivered to their home or office.
"In the last two years, we have seen a 14 percent increase in parcel delivery," Bolen said. "We will continue weekend delivery of packages in an effort to remain competitive and to continue to serve that increasing business."
In the last fiscal year, USPS recorded a $15.9 billion loss, according to usps.com. It also defaulted on its $11.1 billion retiree health benefit pre-funding payments and exhausted its borrowing authority with the United States Treasury.
"With a worsening financial situation, the postal service can no longer sustain losses and must act quickly to stabilize its finances," the website states.
"We will continue to seek reform to have flexibility to control costs and generate new revenue," Bolen said.
USPS operates without tax subsidies and operations are funded with revenue generated from the sale of postal products and services.