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Three Highland Lakes post offices — Bluffton, Castell and Valley Spring — could face closure

MARBLE FALLS — Three Highland Lakes post offices — Bluffton, Castell and Valley Spring — are on a list of potential closures as the United States Postal Service studies ways to cut costs.

But don’t count on final delivery just yet, officials caution. The postal service is also encouraging local businesses to create spaces for smaller outlets.

“No final decisions to close any offices on the list have been made,” said Sam Bolen of the USPS Rio Grande District. “We don’t expect any of the offices on the list to close before 2012.”

The USPS is conducting a study of 3,700 retail offices — those run by the service itself — to determine if they should be closed, officials said.

Three on the list include Bluffton, Castell and Valley Spring.

Bolen said no timeline has been established yet for the process, but the service won’t take any steps before speaking with residents first.

Overtaken by email, the Internet and other speedy delivery systems, the postal service of the 21st century is trying to find ways to save money in a budget that’s already lost $4.7 billion this fiscal year.