By Janet Jacobs
Corsicana Daily Sun
The decision to cut the hours of the Powell Post Office to four hours a day was made prior to Saturday’s meeting, which left some residents upset, but they did get to have some say on which four hours a day it will be open for business.
More than a year ago, the United States Postal Service issued a decision that it would close more than 700 mostly small post offices around the country to save money. When small towns like Powell protested, saying it would detract from their local identities, the postal service relented and decided to instead downsize. Some post offices were closed and the stamp-selling, package-handling business given over to local stores. Some others, including Powell’s, will merely have fewer hours.
According to a survey sent out to Powell postal customers 107 of the 119 who responded said they preferred the post office’s hours be cut rather than the office closed.
In the Dallas district, which includes Navarro County, 121 offices are being affected, according to Pat McGree, who was one of the USPS representatives in Powell on Saturday.
The number of hours each post office was granted was based on customer visits and mail volume, he explained.
Several residents objected, saying the Powell Post Office is necessary, and they felt their voices weren’t being heard.
“Your voices were heard, when they were talking about closing the little post offices,” McGree said.
About 30 residents from Powell and the surrounding area attended Saturday’s meeting. It had originally been scheduled to take place in the post office lobby, but was moved to the Powell Fire Station to accommodate the crowd.
Although the decision isn’t final yet, the general consensus at the meeting was to have the Powell office open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays. Customers with post office boxes will still have access to their boxes after hours, as they do now.
Although almost all the smaller post offices in Navarro County will eventually be affected, the first offices to be cut are those without a postmaster, such as Powell.
Not all the post offices being closed are in small rural communities, he said. One of the Dallas post offices closed was the one in the federal building there, McGree explained.
“This shoe’s pinching everybody,” he said.
Since 1971, the U.S. Post Office has been considered a federal corporation, similar to Amtrak and the Tennessee Valley Authority, and is supposed to be self-supporting without relying on a regular influxes of taxpayer dollars. The growth of on-line banking, on-line bill-paying, and e-mail have caused a significant decrease it the bread-and-butter of the postal service — the first class stamp — leading to cuts across the board, as well as an increase in the cost of stamps.
Janet Jacobs may be reached via e-mail at email@example.com. Want to “sound off” to this article? E-mail: Soundoff@corsicanadailysun.com