Operating hours will be cut in half starting in October.
Rosanky residents are upset because the town’s post office plans to cut its hours starting in the beginning of October.
On Thursday, more than 20 residents packed into the small building thinking they were at a meeting organized by the United States Postal Service to discuss options to cut costs while keeping the office open, but instead were told in no uncertain terms that the staff, and hours, would be cut in half.
Kathy Jenks, the manager of post office operations for 91 offices around the Austin area, informed the crowd that due to a drop in shipping and revenue, the Rosanky office would only be open to the public for four hours a day and the meeting was being held to discuss what four hour time slot worked best for them.
“I don’t really have the power to change anything,” Jenks said to the crowd. “My heart goes out. None of us want to see what’s happening.”
Starting Oct. 1, one post office employee will either retire or change employment, while Stephanie Honeck will work alone as the de facto postmaster. Residents said early morning hours, from 8 a.m. to noon, would be more beneficial to those who worked than afternoon operations. Saturday hours for the Post Office will continue to be 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.
Jenks said the post office was like any other business and it had been losing money for the past few years since many people now turned to the Internet to correspond with friends and pay bills instead of buying stamps, which is how the post office made most of its money.
Many at the meeting saw the cut as the first step toward closing the office permanently.
“Everybody knows once a town loses its Post Office, it disappears as a town,” said Maggie Morgan, a resident who attended the meeting.
Jenks was unable to answer some of the questions from the residents, like why they weren’t able to cut Saturday hours in favor of longer operating hours during the week or why some residents who lived closer to Rosanky town center had a Smithville address, although she told the crowd she would relate their feedback to her bosses at the Post Office. She also said there was only a small chance the office would be permanently closed anytime in the near future.
“I was told this meeting was to discuss what the community wanted and they basically already made the decision and are here to tell us what those decisions are. They thought this meeting would be done in 15 minutes. I think they were unprepared for this,” said Greg Havican at the meeting.
Earlier this year, everyone with a Rosanky mailing address received a survey from the United States Postal Service, asking them if they’d prefer the operating hours to be cut, and if so, what hours they’d like to see the office open.
Jenks revealed the results of the survey, returned by 162 people out of the 586 surveys sent, which showed 92 percent of those who responded wanted a “realignment of hours” versus a further- reaching delivery option or closing the Rosanky Post Office entirely in favor of using other nearby offices.
Residents complained that the nearest office besides their own was more than 10 miles away. Another complaint raised by the group was that those with a Smithville address never received the survey, even if they lived much closer to the Rosanky office. They also the meeting’s 5 p.m. Thursday time slot to be unfavorable because those who worked were unable to attend and have their voices heard.
A petition to keep the hours the same is making its rounds in Rosanky. Morgan said she’s also been in touch with her legislator to discuss the issue.
Jenks said closers were happening all over the country, even in bigger cities like Austin, which recently consolidated three offices in the downtown area. Jenks told the crowd to get in touch with their congressman if they had any complaints or concerns about the changes.