There was a collective sigh of relief from the crowd when Derick King announced that the Courtland post office will not be closing.
King, a post office operations manager, spoke to a packed room late Tuesday afternoon at the McCarley Center in Courtland.
Courtland citizens began to worry about the Courtland post office closing when operations for the town's rural postal carriers were moved to Town Creek.
Sometime in October the U.S. Postal Service sent out a survey form asking opinions on options for the Courtland post office. Those options went from a reduced hours operation of the post office to full closure and moving post office boxes to another post office.
The survey showed overwhelming support for a reduced hours post office and for the post office to remain in Courtland. Of the 260 survey responses received, 231, or 86 percent, preferred reduced hours.
King said the reduced hours options is what the Postal Service will implement at Courtland. The change will begin in late January or early February,
The Courtland post office will be open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to noon and from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., reducing the hours of operation by only one hour. Presently the post office opens at 8:30 a.m. with a 30-minute lunch break.
King admitted that the Postal Service is in financial trouble. He said it lost $5 billion last year.
"Technology has impacted the Postal Service," King said.
He said that the post office began cost-cutting several years ago to attempt to trim its losses. One of the first things the Postal Service did was to close hundreds of small rural post offices.
"But the Postal Service realized that closing the offices was really hurting rural areas and it developed another plan in an attempt to keep post offices open.
The plan includes reduced hours for post offices and having one postmaster for several smaller offices operated by assistant postmasters. It is this plan that ensures Courtland will have a post office.