The cutbacks are the result of the United States Post Office’s attempt to close a $20 billion budget deficit by 2015 by discontinuing 3,700 rural post offices nationwide.
Customers of each of the affected post offices were mailed a survey last year to determine who used the facilities and when.
The suggested closings were met with strong public opposition.
The USPS, using the survey data, now has formulated what it calls its “Post Plan”— offering postal customers four options:
•Keeping the individual post office open, but with curtailed hours of operation.
•Conducting a discontinuance study for the office and to offer roadside mailbox delivery.
•Conducting a discontinuance study for the office and finding a suitable alternative location for a post office operated by a contractor.
•Conducting a discontinuance study for the office and providing post office boxes serviced by a nearby post office.
On Thursday, a USPS representative met with patrons in Pawnee, Skidmore, Tuleta and Tynan to release both the survey results and the USPS decision.
None of the affected post offices will be closed. At press time Thursday, the USPS had decided:
•Tuleta — will be open 8 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday, 7:15 a.m. to 8:15 a.m. Saturday, a cutback of four hours.
•Skidmore — will be open 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m., a cutback of six hours.
•Tynan — will be open from 8 a.m. to noon and Saturday 8 a.m. to 9:30, a cutback of four hours.’
New hours of operation for the Pawnee post office will be posted online at www.mySouTex.com when available.
The number of postal patrons returning the survey was disappointing.
Of 189 customers in Tuleta, only 55 responded (29 percent); in Skidmore, of 759 customers, 183 responded (24 percent); in Tynan, of 120 customers, 39 responded (33 percent.)
Delivering the decision at a 10-minute noon meeting in Skidmore, Mary Martinez, the manager of postal operations for the Rio Grande District, thanked those who showed up and said, “Remember, I had nothing to do with this decision; I’m just the messenger.”
Bill Clough is a reporter at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 122, or at beepic@mySouTex.com