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It takes a village to reduce post office hours
by Jason Collins
Jul 23, 2014 | 448 views | 0 0 comments | 0 0 recommendations | email to a friend | print
This sign hangs on the wooden wall outside the Normanna Post Office. The hours this office are open is expected to be cut as part of a cost savings measure.
This sign hangs on the wooden wall outside the Normanna Post Office. The hours this office are open is expected to be cut as part of a cost savings measure.
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Normanna residents will likely hear Thursday that their post office hours are being cut to four hours daily. This is a cost-cutting measure occurring throughout the postal system. The meeting is at 5 p.m. at the fire station there.
Normanna residents will likely hear Thursday that their post office hours are being cut to four hours daily. This is a cost-cutting measure occurring throughout the postal system. The meeting is at 5 p.m. at the fire station there.
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NORMANNA – The Normanna Post Office once again finds itself in the crosshairs of federal budget cuts.

The relatively small, wood-framed post office is among 13,000 around the country facing reduced hours, said Sam Bolen, public information officer for USPS Rio Grande District.

This nationwide down-turning of hours for smaller post offices is being implemented over a two-year period and was originally scheduled for completion by September. That has been extended until January.

“Since the program was announced more than two years ago, 9,166 post offices have had retail operating hours adjusted,” Bolen said in a email. “Not all post offices had retail hour adjustments – 4,567 offices were upgraded, and the postmasters were promoted when this initiative began.”

Of those post offices open fewer hours, 3,009 are open for only six hours. Bolen said that 4,900 offices are now open for four hours, and 1,257 offices are open for two hours.

Postal surveys showed that most people preferred to have the buildings open fewer hours than lose them all together.

In fact, 54 percent said just that. The concept of a village post office only appealed to about 20 percent.

Village post offices are essentially privately run businesses that house portions of the post office services inside such as mail collection and post office boxes.

The question as yet unanswered is just what do the residents of Normanna want?

The residents were all given surveys and a chance to voice their opinions. At 5 p.m. Thursday in the next-door fire station, they will hear those results along with information about the proposed new hours.

This isn’t the only community undergoing this change either.

Just this past week, residents in two other communities, Berclair and Fannin, also received news that change was afoot.

On Thursday, about 30 Berclair area residents attended a meeting at that post office and seemed satisfied with the decision to reduce operation hours to two per day.

U.S. Post Office Operations Manager Daniel Reyes spoke to the group Thursday at Moya’s Cafe and announced the post office will change its operating hours to 10 a.m. to noon, Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, effective no later than Jan. 10.

In 2011, Berclair was one of the rural post offices on the feds’ chopping block.

Negative feedback from residents prompted a change of heart, and budget, to allow the post office to continue but with a reduction in hours.

Farther east, but still in Goliad County, residents of Fannin gathered for a 3 p.m. meeting on July 15.

Reyes informed those in attendance that the Fannin Post Office retail hours would be reduced to 7 to 9 a.m., Monday through Saturday. The current hours are 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 7 to 9 a.m. on Saturday.

Farther south in Bayside, residents there are awaiting news of what awaits them.

A meeting is also planned there at noon to inform those residents of what changes they too will see.

Jason Collins is the editor at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 343-5221, or at editor@mySouTex.com.
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