The Sykesville Town Council voted Monday night, Nov. 26, to maintain the town's contract for a U.S. Post Office, and the town will plan to hire at least two new employees to operate it.
The decision does not guarantee the post office's future, however, as the council plans to address its fate again during next year's town budget talks.
It was a decision that pleased the full house, where many stated the importance of the post office to the town for not only its services, but also for its atmosphere.
"I use it a lot, and have a relationship with the people there," Yvonne Wallace told the council. "I see them more than you all. Those people mean more to me than you all."
The Nov. 26 meeting was scheduled for the town to discuss the fate of the post office after the Nov. 1 firing of Jean Maher, longtime manager of the Sykesville's downtown post office.
The Sykesville Old Main Line Visitor's Center and Post Office has been closed since a few days after Maher's dismissal, when the remaining employees — Connie McKay, Kathy Gambrill and Judy Lettie — resigned in protest.
At Monday's meeting, a proposal to move the post office to the Town Hall was discussed. Some said that move would allow the town to rent out the other facility and hire fewer employees, as town employees could also perform some of the duties. It would also bring people to the building and see where local government takes place.
Joe Murri, a Sykesville resident, suggested to the council that the town's main street manager, Ivy Wells, relocate her office to the current post office's location, in part as a way to get to know residents better.
"I don't know Ms. Wells at all," Murri said. "What a better place to have a Main Street manager than in the visitor center? I think it would be a great value to all of us in town."
As the post office's operation is already budgeted for until the end of this fiscal year in 2013, the decision to keep it open at least until then seemed logical to the council, though concern was expressed about finding staff willing to work under the circumstances.
The idea of a private business taking over the operation could still be an option to study during budget talks, officials said.
During the meeting, officials revealed that a business on Main Street had expressed interest in running the post office and relocating its business. The town, however, does not have the ability to select a business to take over the post office. That right belongs to the USPS, and officials said there is no guarantee it would approve any of the local businesses to take over the service.