Schneider residents call for post office to stay open
By Carrie Napoleon Post-Tribune correspondent October 13, 2011 10:06PM
Updated: November 16, 2011 3:46PM
SCHNEIDER — More than 50 residents came out Thursday to voice their opinions about the possible closure of the Schneider post office — about one-third of the 173 customers it serves.
The branch was one of three local post offices on a list of 3,653 for study for closure by the U.S. Postal Service that was released in late July. The post offices in Sumava Resorts and Mount Ayr also are on the list. The branch in Thayer was on a similar list released before July. That post office is slated for closure Nov. 5.
“We want our post office,” one woman said to the applause of the crowd.
Residents learned that while no final decision has been made, they do have options if the Schneider branch were to close. Those options include rural route postal delivery out of the Lake Village post office, cluster box units at a central location in town or along a roadway or a new concept created by the U.S. Postal Service, a village post office.
A village post office can be any business in town that is open and staffed for at least six hours a day, Schneider Postmaster Sandra Norris said. The VPO would allow the community to preserve its mailing name and ZIP-coded identity.
The business would have to supply space for post office boxes or cluster box units and Priority Mail display case and sell stamp booklets at Postal Service prices. A business interested in becoming a village post office can submit its information to Norris.
David Conwell Jr., manager of post offices in the 463 and 464 ZIP code prefix, said the Postal Service is considering the closures of underutilized branches in an effort to streamline its operations and reduce costs.
“It’s unfortunate we are in a situation to have to make these difficult decisions,” Conwell said. Closing Schneider and replacing the branch with rural route delivery would save approximately $50,000 a year. Revenues at the branch have declined by 20 percent between 2007 and 2010.
“The bottom line is we can’t do business as usual,” he said.
Town Council President Richard Ludlow said he would like the local post office to remain in town.
“I would be very unhappy to see it close. I’m hoping some of the proposed development will help sway the decision,” Ludlow said.