Eight mail processing centers closing in KY

By: Paige Quiggins Email
By: Paige Quiggins Email

The United States Postal Service is in the process of down sizing due to less and less people utilizing the letter and other services.

Postal officials announced on Feb. 23 they will begin shutting down mail room operations in certain areas and moving them to larger cities. In Kentucky, eight locations will be affected, including Somerset, London and Hazard where operations will be moved to Knoxville, TN. The Campton, KY plant will relocate backroom operations to Louisville. This does not mean that the offices will close, but it could mean some mail would be slower coming to the mailbox.

In a meeting on the potential outcome, Spokesperson David Walton said that the change in mail standards is the main change people will see when the operations are consolidated to larger metropolitan areas.

“What that means is first class standards are one to two days and we are looking to change that to 2 to 3 days so what that means is when someone mails something chances are they won't get it the next day,” said Walton on Dec. 7, 2011.

Walton said USPS has experienced a 25 percent decline in revenue since 2006 and they are doing what they have to do stay afloat. USPS relies solely on the sale of postage, and postal products and services to remain in business.

“People are just using it less often now instead of that traditional card or letter in the mail they are texting and facebooking and all of that and with bill paying it used to be the only place you could pay your bill is mail it in or go in to the business if it is local but now people are given so many different options such as online bill pay and many companies offer incentives for that,” said Walton.

Walton said it is important to note that the only mail affected this would be First Class Mail.

“A lot of people get medicines in the mail are my medicines still going to arrive on time, that won't affect priority mail, express mail, it is just letter mail that would come a day later,” said Walton.

For customers at the post office, the jobs that could be affected were a big concern.

“For small town America it's probably the worst thing that could happen, the downsizing of the post office,” said Tim Bingham, a Hazard Post Office Customer.

Walton said at informative public meetings, they were advised that there could be around 200 jobs affected in the bluegrass, 26 in Bowling Green, 7 in Elizabethtown, six in Hazard, 103 in Lexington, 29 in London, 15 in Paducah and four in Somerset.

“In this rural area to lose any jobs, not to mention a good paying postal job with retirement is not good for the people and their families,” said Bingham.

Bingham said he believed a “lame duck congress” was to blame for the problems had by the post office. Walton said they are currently trying to work with congress to pass legislation which could take the plan in a different direction before these changes occur.

Walton said in December of 2011, the Postal Service agreed to postpone closing or consolidating post offices and mail processing facilities before May 15. This is to give Congress and the Administration the opportunity to enact an alternative plan.

Earlier this month, postal service officials said its quarterly loss grew to nearly three and a half million dollars. Officials said they need to cut 20 billion dollars by 2015 in order to stay profitable.

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