Rumors swirling about the potential closing of the Oakwood Post Office prompted city council to take a closer look at what's actually going on after a discussion at their Monday night meeting.
"We're going to start with the post office here, try to make contact with the postmaster here at the local post office, and see who in their chain of command we can talk to, to really get some facts," said Oakwood City Manager Stan Brown to press after the meeting. "We've heard and we know that the route carriers have moved down to Flowery Branch, and we've experienced issues here at Oakwood about mail being returned that, in the past, when it didn't have the right P.O. Box, they still knew where we were and put it in the right box. Now, to go back to Flowery Branch, we don't see those packages being delivered. So the city has seen some difficulties through this transition. We'll be talking to the post office, finding out more on their lease situation, see how they handle real estate and see if there's an opportunity to try and work something out."
One thing that made the post office different than others in the area, like in Gainesville, was that the building was owned and leased by a private party, not the federal government. The office, on Main Street at Old Oakwood Road, is in disrepair, according to former USPS worker and Oakwood resident Betty Blackwell. "[USPS] said money was the problem when they moved the carriers out, but it wasn't," Blackwell told the council. "It costs them more now than it did and I don't understand that part." Blackwell continued that a trailer was once brought in to help with space but wasn't sufficient, and that the actual building suffered leaks when it rains.
Brown said it was possible that, depending on the results of their investigation, a newly built post office might be a good fit for the town center development plan. However, he said any potential plans are still contingent on what they find out in the investigation.
The council also approved several resolutions at the meeting, including the 2018 budget and fee schedule, as well as the 2018 GDOT LMIG application, adoption of the Hall County Mitigation Plan Update, authorization for the city manager to execute Georgia underground storage tank (GUST) agreement with Georgia EPD and the opposition to de-annexation legislation to create new municipalities.
The opposition to de-annexation legislation to create new municipalities resolution was what Brown called a message of solidarity. The city of Stockbridge is under some controversy as Eagle's Landing, a new city near it, wanted to take a parcel of land that was already in the Stockbridge city limits.
"It would be like if we took our industrial park... say Lake Lanier was becoming a city. And as part of that they wanted a tax base and they wanted to take our industrial park and bring that in as part of their new city," Brown said. The council approved the resolution and to send it to Stockbridge.
The city also has a tradition of proclaiming November as Family Month. City Clerk Tangee Puckett read the proclamation and Mayor Lamar Scroggs presented it to a local family.