Moss Bluff residents defend post office from possible closure

MOSS BLUFF, LA (KPLC) - As the United States Post Office tries to get a hold on their financial situation they're considering closing thousands of post offices across country, including Moss Bluff. It is among 51 stations in Louisiana being studied for possible closure.

Monday night USPS representatives held an informal meeting with Moss Bluff residents to get feedback on the idea.

"What we are here for is to get your comments and your thoughts. This is not final yet," said Rachel Cousin, USPS Marketing Manager for Louisiana.

According to the USPS out of 466 stations in Louisiana only four are currently making a profit. Despite population growth and economic development, the Moss Bluff station's work load and revenue has declined for the past four years from $655,000 to $555,000. With the possibility of closure residents are on the defense, including Moss Bluff native and postal worker Eugene Long.

"The U.S. Postal Service is a service. We're not here to make money, we're here to deliver the mail. Six day delivery to every household," said Long.

If they were forced to close household deliveries would continue as normal, however Moss Bluff P.O. boxes and retail services would move to the main post office in Lake Charles. They currently deliver to 17,395 households and have 809 P.O. boxes.

"It's a huge inconvenience because it is completely out of our way to go there and I'm thinking of how hard that would be for our older citizens to be able to drive, especially the ones who may be coming from Ragley or beyond," said Alison Rudd, Moss Bluff resident.

"Well it would be devastating if we were to lose our post office. It's really the center of the community and it would be devastating," said Ruth Jones, former USPS employee and Moss Bluff resident.

The Calcasieu Police Jury is against the idea and last month passed a resolution opposing the move and asked the USPS to reconsider. Ward 1 Police Juror Shannon Spell said he's at their service.

"I'm available to give you a tour, give you whatever information you need: data, GIS maps, population data," said Spell.

The USPS said they are looking for ways to cut internally, including 120,000 employees. They're also considering eliminating Saturday delivery and asking Congress to let them relax their $5.5-billion in annual prepaid health benefits for retired employees.

There were some surprises. The USPS pays more than $101,000 per year in rent for the Moss Bluff station. "That's something we're going to include in our report. Perhaps we need to take a look at that," said Cousin. "We are taking all these suggestions down and including them. There were some very good and valid points made here tonight."

Cousin said it's not always black and white when looking at the data and that just because Moss Bluff is on the closure list doesn't mean it's final.

"I think the thing that stuck out the most was the community passion for their community and their post office. And we didn't realize before coming is that Moss Bluff is a unique community and not part of Lake Charles," said Cousin.

Residents are urged to contact their Congressional delegates and band together if they're going to save their post office.

"I encourage those people who couldn't make it here tonight to get vocal. Because if you don't want to lose your post office - we're going to have to work together," said Rebecca Pack, Moss Bluff resident.

They're currently 30 days into their 138 day study. Residents will continue to be updated on the closure status. No final decision will be made until around mid-February.

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