Starting in early October, the Millwood post office’s hours of operation will be reduced to four per day.
On Tuesday, July 29, representatives from the United States Postal Service (USPS) held a community meeting in Millwood to discuss the reasons for the upcoming reduction of post office hours.
Millwood Post Office’s new hours of operation will tentatively be Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m., and they will likely go into effect on Saturday, Oct. 4, the start of a new pay-period.
This will follow the Sept. 30 retirement of Millwood Postmaster Gladys Duvall, who has served her community for more than 40 years.
Additionally, the Caneyville post office will take over administrative postal duties regarding Millwood, and all Millwood routes will first go through Caneyville before delivery at Millwood Post Office at around 11:30 a.m.
Due to provisions in a 2006 law passed by the federal government, the USPS has, for the past eight years, been required to pre-pay retirement benefits for all employees, including those it has not yet hired, said Munfordville Postmaster Eddie Jessie.
While the USPS does not receive taxpayer funding, it does undergo congressional oversight, so Congress does have the capability to control the USPS’s budget, Jessie said.
The 2006 provision costs the USPS a total of $5.6 billion per year and, with the addition of the recent years’ economic downturn, the postal service has now reached a point where it is unable to afford the payments, Jessie said.
Additionally, a study conducted by the USPS shows that customer retail visits to post offices nationwide dropped by 27 percent from the years 2005 to 2011.
Thus, to cut expenses and break even, the postal service has had to make several budget cuts, including reducing the hours of about 13,000 United States post offices, Jessie said.
Among those post offices is Millwood Post Office, which, based on customer activity, qualifies for a four-hour reduction.
The reduction of post office hours will result in $500 million annual savings for the USPS, Jessie said.
Manager of Post Office Operations for Kentucky and Indiana Rosemary Miller said Millwood Post Office’s hours’ could be increased at a later date if customer support would make the increase profitable.
In 2015, the USPS will reevaluate post office schedules to determine if they should be adjusted further.
“We want you to use the United States Postal Service,” Miller said. “We need you to use the postal service.
Jessie said the USPS also needs reform from Congress. A number of bills have been submitted to remove the 2006 retirement pre-funding provision, but they have failed to pass.
Jessie advised individuals dissatisfied with the USPS’s budget cuts to contact their elected officials to ask them to act on reform for the USPS.
“We need relief from Congress to thrive again,” Jessie said.
Millwood Post Office’s current hours are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., and Saturday, 8 a.m. to 11 a.m.