Post office questions warrant answers

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It’s hard to say how effective opposition to the closing of the Rocky Mount mail processing facility might be, but at the very least, it has raised some questions that warrant consideration.

Telegram staff writer Corey Davis talked with U.S. Postal Service officials this week who are preparing to close the Rocky Mount office on Raleigh Boulevard in early 2015. The closing will affect about 150 workers at the post office. They’ll be transferred to other postal distribution centers that will assume some of the responsibilities currently held by the Rocky Mount center.

No one wants to see those jobs leave this community, but the impact of the post office closing will be felt even more by those of us who depend on fast, reliable mail service for important needs – prescription drugs, checks, delivery of newspapers to people who aren’t on routes and don’t have access to the Internet.

That last mention might sound a little self-serving, but consider communities that depend on weekly newspapers. If a town publishes a public meeting notice about an important issue such as property taxes or a proposed annexation, affected residents want to know about those issues in time to attend. Can that be guaranteed if mail that once was distributed by the Rocky Mount center must go first to Raleigh?

U.S. Rep. G.K. Butterfield has joined other members of Congress in asking for a moratorium on the closing of Rocky Mount’s office and other postal centers that are on the shutdown list. Butterfield and some of his colleagues have raised questions about the amount of money that will ultimately be saved by the closings, compared to the inefficiencies and inconveniences caused by the plan.

Butterfield and his colleagues make a good point. Congress should follow his lead and give some more deliberation to the proposal. They might learn a little more about how important postal service is to rural America.