Goodwin Street post office struggling to survive

Matt Hinshaw/<br>The Daily Courier<br>The postal service is anticipating a revenue shortfall of about $6 billion by the end of the fiscal year ending Sept. 30. As a result, the Goodwin Street Post Office in Prescott is on a list of possible closures.

Matt Hinshaw/<br>The Daily Courier<br>The postal service is anticipating a revenue shortfall of about $6 billion by the end of the fiscal year ending Sept. 30. As a result, the Goodwin Street Post Office in Prescott is on a list of possible closures.

Adrianne Morrison visits the Goodwin Street post office a couple of times a month to send out mail or buy stamps.

"It'd be a big mistake," she says when asked about the possibility that the United States Postal Service may close the branch.

"It serves this part of town and it has a lot of culture and history to it," she added.

Robert Coombs agrees.

Coombs, visitor information manager for the Prescott Chamber of Commerce, goes to the post office twice a day to get chamber mail.

Coombs thinks closing the office is a horrible idea and a disservice to the people who use it, besides the fact that it would jam up the Miller Valley office.

"I think it's nuts. I don't know what their reasoning is," he said.

But many users of the downtown location will have to commute to the Miller Valley office if the Postal Service ends up following through with plans to close the branch after decades of operation.

Earlier this month, the Postal Service announced it is studying eight other stations and branches throughout Arizona. In a July 8 letter, the USPS explains that the study is looking at consolidating or ceasing operations because of dropping mail volume and window transactions.

It could include possible lease terminations and/or moving operations from postal service buildings.

Peter Hass, communications program specialist with the USPS in Phoenix, said the postal service does not receive tax dollars to cover operations costs and relies on customers for revenue.

New technology, retail stores offering limited services and the bad economy are some of the reasons that the postal service is anticipating that revenues will be off by about $6 billion by the end of the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, according to Hass.

"Obviously we have to look for ways to decrease our costs while continuing to provide service to our customers," he said. "One of the ways to do that is to look at our facilities."

Hass said the study began earlier this month, and people will get to give their thoughts before a final decision hits.

If the office does close, it displaces six employees and more than a thousand postal box renters.

Prescott Postmaster Reid Schilling said mail volume in Prescott and Prescott Valley is down about 15 percent.

If the Goodwin office were to close, Schilling said it would mean installing more boxes to accommodate customers.

"We have to do something to control costs. I believe we should look at everything that's available to us to control costs and to reduce costs that doesn't affect service," he said. "Service is still our primary function."

Schilling said the postal service doesn't have many options to bolster revenue.

"We can't just fall back on the government and say save us," he said. "We're doing everything in our power to control our costs without affecting service, and that's our number one thing."