SOUTH PEKIN - Residents are being told that they can decide the future of their local post office, but keeping things the same is not an option.
Alberta House has picked up her mail from the South Pekin post office for the past 17 years.
"In South Pekin, you get friendly service. Fast, friendly service," she said.
But recently, a letter from the U.S. Postal Service told her and the rest of the town that this service will soon change. To save money, the USPS wants to reduce or eliminate thousands of small community post offices, including South Pekin.
"It just seems like they always pick on the smaller community. And I don't know why. The communities are suffering now," said resident Dennis Hoehn.
However, residents do have some say in what happens. USPS mailed surveys to residents with several options: keep the post office open with reduced hours; close it and have mail delivered to the nearest post office; or close and receive "home deliveries."
But House says the term "home deliveries" is not like it sounds.
"The misconception is that they're going to be home delivery, and that's not the case. The mail's not going to be delivered to our home," she said.
An USPS representative confirmed that mail would not be delivered to the residents' homes. Instead residents would likely pick up mail at a nearby business.
Cindy Holloway was the local postmaster for 25 years. She thinks cutting hours would add stress to an already overworked staff, and it won't really save money.
"There's the cost of the building, the utility, the salaries; saving one to two hours per day, I think is such a small cost savings that I fail to see a real value in that," said Holloway.
A USPS representative says reducing hours of 13,000 smaller offices could save up to $500 million per year come 2014. The USPS is currently in a 5 billion dollar deficit and originally planned on closing thousands of location until met with community backlash.
South Pekin is one of many communities in Tazewell County expected to see changes.
A U.S. Postal Service representative says it plans to only cut hours, but if more than 60 percent of residents vote otherwise, it will consider other options. A postal service representative will meet with residents on February 26 at 2 p.m. at the community post office.