The U.S. Postal Service is looking at whether or not to close West Sedona’s post office, along with seven others statewide.
Next week, questionnaires will be available to all post office box customers at the post office near Harkins Theatres and to anyone who wants to fill one out.
All residential Sedona mail is delivered from the main post office at the ‘Y’ intersection, but the West Sedona branch houses roughly 1,000 P.O. boxes, Sedona postmaster Dave Cartlidge said.
If the West Sedona branch closes, the main station has room to house those post office boxes, he said.
According to USPS spokesman Peter Hass, a final decision will be made in October and if there are closings in Arizona, they will happen by the end of 2009 or early 2010. Besides Sedona, one station each in Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tucson, Bisbee and Prescott are being considered, along with two in Bullhead City.
USPS is looking at the possible consolidation of 3,200 post offices nationwide in its effort to combat the struggling economy.
By the end of this fiscal year, Wednesday, Sept. 30, the postal service expects to have a deficit of $7 billion.
In 2006, USPS handled over 225 billion pieces of mail. This year it’s expecting 175 billion pieces.
“That’s obviously a steep and significant decline in volume,” Hass said.
Although the Internet has been pulling communications away from paper mail for several years, the biggest blow to post offices around the country is a decline in advertisement mailings, Hass said.
“Businesses are looking for ways to cut their costs,” he said. “Direct mail has been a popular way to advertise, but because business is cutting back, we’ve seen a drop in that as well.”
Since 1982, USPS has not received tax dollars for operations. Instead, it relies on revenue from mailing costs and purchase of stamps.
Earlier this year, it cut five district offices and several administrative positions in an effort to become more efficient, according to Hass.
It is also looking at consolidating delivery routes. The postal service is required to deliver mail six days a week, but as population grows, especially in Arizona, and volume of mail decreases, there’s fewer pieces of mail delivered on longer, more costly routes.
According to Hass, helping customers is the postal service’s goal.
“We’re looking at ways to become more efficient while still providing service to our customers,” he said.
Alison Ecklund can be reached at 282-7795, ext. 125, or e-mail