The U.S. Postal Service’s financial situation is so bleak that significant changes are being considered.

Six days a week it delivers an average of 563 million pieces of mail. For the price of a 44¢ stamp, you can mail a letter anywhere within the nation’s borders.

However, the days of raising the little red flag seem all but gone. In fact, Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President Megan Brennan said 2006 was the high-water mark.

Megan Brennan

Brennan added that those changes have serious ramifications for the postal service infrastructure.

Megan Brennan

In an effort to stop the bleeding, the U.S. Postal Service has put a number of offices on the chopping block.

On the verge of losing billions of dollars in revenue, Postmaster General and Chief Executive Officer Patrick Donahoe said the Postal Service has been forced to respond to a changing marketplace.

Patrick Donahoe

Donahoe said they are seeking long-term legislation.

Patrick Donahoe

According to Brennan, significant changes will lay the foundation for the way the postal service processes mail for decades to come.

Megan Brennan

So what does the future hold?

Megan Brennan

As part of a “retail optimization” effort, the Postal Service announced in late July that it was conducting a study on the feasibility of keeping a number of post offices in operation and released a list of locations targeted for possible closure.

On the roster, with about 3,700 others, are Emma, Arrow Rock, Blackburn, Gilliam, Malta Bend, and Miami. In nearby Chariton County, Rothville could be forced to shut down as well.

A meeting to discuss the Malta Bend and Miami locations will be held Tuesday. Residents can voice their opinions at the Malta Bend school at 4:00 p.m. Meanwhile, officials will be at the Miami Community Center at 7:00 p.m.

Given the response to all of the drastic changes, it looks like the Postal Service will not be getting a stamp of approval anytime soon.

By the numbers:

563 million
Pieces of mail per week

150 billion
Pieces of mail it expects to deliver annually a decade from now

The cost for a stamp

$12 billion
Amount the USPS owes the U.S. Treasury

Number of U.S. Postal Service employees

Approximate number of USPS locations currently operating at a deficit

Approximate number of branches and stations the USPS wants to close this year

$5.5 billion
Approximate number of dollars USPS must dish out every year for retiree health benefits.

$8.5 billion
USPS losses in fiscal 2010

$7 billion
Expected losses in the current fiscal year