The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

December 12, 2012

USPS cuts hours at Mooresville's historic post office

By Kim West

— The tiny town of Mooresville in Limestone County has been included on a recent list of post offices scheduled to change their retail window hours.

Mooresville is among eight post offices in Alabama that will shuffle their retail window hours based on customer use, according to a Nov. 30 announcement by the United States Postal Service.

Hours of operation will decrease to two hours of retail window service each day at the Mooresville facility, but the USPS hasn’t announced the operational hours or the date these changes will go into effect. Retail window service on Saturday will not be reduced and delivery receptacles will not change.

The Mooresville Post Office at 24995 Lauderdale St. is currently open 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. There are 48 boxes housed in the building, which was constructed from sawmill lumber.

The post office dates back to the mid-1850s. It is the oldest continually operating post office building in the state and one of the oldest in the country, according to the town website.

The 194-year-old town is listed on the National Register for Historic Places. Referred to as “Alabama’s Williamsburg,” the town has 53 residents counted by the 2010 Census.

The USPS ended the 2012 fiscal year $15.9 billion in the red compared to a net loss of $5.1 billion in fiscal year 2011. The loss for Oct. 1, 2011 to Sept. 30, 2012, included $11.1 billion in expenses related to a pair of payments to pre-fund retiree health benefits.

According to the USPS, the self-sustaining Postal Service is required by law to pre-pay those obligations to the Federal Employees’ Retirement System and was forced to default on the payments.

Excluding the pre-funding, the USPS lost $4.8 billion in fiscal year 2012, compared to $5.1 billion in fiscal year 2011. Mail volume dropped to 159.9 billion pieces compared to 168.3 billion in 2011.

“It’s critical that Congress do its part and pass comprehensive legislation before they adjourn (Dec. 14) to move the Postal Service further down the path toward financial health,” Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe said. “We continue to do our part to grow revenue and reduce expenses by making our operations more efficient and by providing our customers with new and expanded services to meet their mailing and shipping needs.”

The USPS has cut costs by decreasing work hours by 27 million, or 2.3 percent, in 2012 from the previous year.

“These work hour reductions reflect our efforts to improve productivity and to respond to the decline in mail volume,” said Joseph Corbett, chief financial officer for USPS. “Since 2000, we have reduced work hours by a cumulative total of 504 million work hours, equivalent to 286,000 employees, or $21 billion in expense savings each year.”

The Lester Post Office closed its doors in November 2011. Limestone County has five post offices that remain open in Mooresville, Athens, Capshaw, Elkmont and Tanner.