LEXINGTON – The U.S. Postal Service is considering a proposal to close Lexington’s mail-processing center, which would delay mail to businesses and residents throughout Kentucky, including Frankfort.
The center in Lexington on Nandino Boulevard is one of 250 processing centers nationwide – and one of the seven in Kentucky – that the postal service is considering shutting down and consolidating services.
If the center in Lexington closes, mail would instead be processed through Louisville and Knoxville, a move that the postal service said would save more than $9 million.
“The reason we are having to do this is we just no longer have the mail volume to sustain keeping all of these facilities open,” David Walton, corporate communications representative for the postal service, told The State Journal by telephone Monday.
“We just do not foresee that mail volume coming back.”
Walton said the loss in volume is because many postal customers are opting to communicate through email, social media and texting.
Many are also choosing to pay their bills electronically. Ten years ago, less than 5 percent of people paid bills online, but today, that number has increased to more than 50 percent, Walton said.
While it would save the post office millions, the decision to close the Lexington center could cost their customers. If the mail were rerouted to Louisville or Knoxville, periodicals and first-class mail delivery would be delayed.
“What would happen is customers would likely no longer receive mail the day after it’s mailed,” Walton said.
“First-class mail would take two-three days, and periodicals 2 to 9 (days).”
That means if subscribers have their newspapers delivered through the mail, like subscribers to national newspapers or The State Journal who live outside Franklin County, they’d receive their papers a day late.
Walton said mail with ZIP codes beginning with 403, 406, 413 and 414 would be processed in Louisville, and mail from southeastern Kentucky – ZIP codes beginning with 407, 409, 417, 418, 425 and 426 – would go to Knoxville.
Walton said this doesn’t affect packages, so customers getting medication through the mail should still receive it on time.
The postal service had a public hearing Monday night at Fayette County Public Schools’ Central Office to discuss the proposal.
More than 50 former and current employees and customers showed up to protest.
One was Veronica Cecil, director of U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler’s district office, who read to the crowd a letter from Chandler.
“I strongly oppose the consolidation of mail processing … as it would result in a loss of jobs in my district,” the letter said. (It could cost the Lexington mail center about 100 jobs.)
Chandler also said in the letter that he’s seen evidence that proves the Lexington mail-processing facility is more efficient than those in Louisville and Knoxville, and he asked the post office to consider this, in addition to the loss of revenue and jobs, before making a decision to close the center in Lexington.
Walton said that decision will be made by February or March.
Those who couldn’t make it to the meeting last night can still express their support or opposition to the plan by mailing comments to: Manager of Consumer and Industry Contact, Kentuckiana District, P.O. Box 31631, Louisville, Ky., 40231-9631.
Public comments will be accepted through Dec. 13.