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12:04 PM Mon, Sept. 24th

Postal Service cutting branches, stations; no local details available

The U.S. Postal Service has a new contraction plan.

Postal Service Spokeswoman Joanne Veto said they are looking to shutter 2,000 stations and branches this year.

Unlike post offices, Veto said the postal service is looking to close the stations and branches which don't have letter carriers, process mail and usually only have a retail counter and some post office boxes.

"We just need 2,000 places where there might be a post office around the block, a mile away, half a mile away, within walking distance where there might be another station or branch in a similar situation so that we can have the least impact," she said. "We are trying to make this as seamless as possible for our customers."

Veto said the process to make a list of closures is under way, and the hope is to have it in late March.

The postal service has closed 83 branches and stations since 2009, according to Veto.

Veto has no idea about job losses at this point, and she said some employees could also draw transfers.

To put it into perspective, Veto said the postal service has 32,000 post offices, stations and branches, and they're trying to close a small percentage of them.

"There's still plenty of post offices out there," she said.

The Postal Service is reeling from declining mail volume, the economic downturn and the option for consumers to pay bills online.

Peter Haas, spokesman for the postal service in Phoenix, didn't have anything to add on possible closures here.

"At this point there is no list that I can provide you that indicates which offices in Arizona might be considered for this," he said.

The Postal Service had a net loss of $8.5 billion in fiscal year 2010 and $3.8 billion in the previous year, according to Haas.

The post office does not receive any tax dollars for operation and also is looking at cutting back to five-day delivery, which could come to fruition sometime this year if and when Congress approved it.

Other cost saving moves include raising stamp prices and shedding employees through attrition.