OAKLAND — This Warren County city, population 225, is keeping its U.S. Post Office.
That news came as a relief to the 14 people – roughly 6 percent of Oakland’s residents – who attended an informational meeting Tuesday afternoon at Oakland City Hall.
However, sometime on or about Jan. 26, window service hours at the tiny brick office will be scaled back – from eight hours each Monday through Friday to four hours each weekday. Saturday window hours will not change, and the new weekday hours have not been established. Postal managers are giving serious consideration to an 11:45 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. schedule to catch the lunch crowd.
The changes are in keeping with the results of the Post Plan Customer Survey that the Postal Service recently mailed to 527 homes in the 42159 ZIP code served by the Oakland Post Office. Some 153 surveys were returned to the Postal Service. Of those, 123 surveys – 80 percent of the households that responded – indicated they want to keep the post office open with realigned hours, said Chris Carroll, manager of Post Office Operations for Area 7. Carroll is based in Bowling Green.
“That’s what’s going to happen,” Carroll said during the meeting. “The Oakland Post Office is not going to close. It will basically stay open at the reduced hours of what it earns, which is four hours a day.”
Current office hours at the facility are 8:30 a.m. to noon and 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, with Saturday hours of 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
Carroll explained to attendees that the Postal Service has not been supported by tax dollars since 1970, and by law cannot turn a profit. But cost-saving measures have to be taken where they can so that the Postal Service can remain on solid financial footing. Tuesday’s meeting was just one in thousands nationwide since July 2011 as part of the Postal Service’s restructuring plan, known as Post Plan.
Carroll further suggested that if people in Oakland want to keep their post office in the future, they need to use it. Oakland is one of an estimated 13,000 post offices nationwide that will be operating with reduced hours by September 2014. The reduction in hours once it is fully rolled out is expected to produce an annual savings of $500 million, Carroll said.
The reduced window service hours will not affect P.O. box holders’ 24-hour access to the 180 boxes inside the post office.
“My biggest concern are the working people,” Oakland resident and Warren County Magistrate Tommy Hunt said after the meeting. “Us older people can adjust our hours. I think we all realize we are going to have to adjust.”
Mary Pearson, a retired Oakland postmaster who followed in the footsteps of her grandfather and mother, who were also postmasters there, was pleased overall with the announcement that the post office will stay open.
“I think it’s OK,” Pearson said. “Time changes everything. You have to go with it.”