Post office closures mean delays here

By Lauren Hallow Published:

You may notice a delay in your mail later this year.

The U.S. Postal Service announced Thursday it would be closing eight Kentucky mail processing centers, including one in Lexington, as part of a move to close and consolidate more than 250 post offices and processing centers nationwide. 

Once the Lexington processing center closes – it won’t be until after May 15 – all mail headed for Frankfort will be processed in Louisville, a move that could essentially make next-day mail a thing of the past. 

“Right now there’s a time frame of 1-3 days for delivery (of first-class mail). We’re going to be changing that to 2-3 days,” David Walton, Postal Service spokesmen for Kentucky, told The State Journal Thursday, hours after the announcement was made to consolidate the Lexington processing center.

“Since we’re closing all of these facilities, we’re pretty much realigning the entire post office network, and we need additional time to transport that mail.” 

Walton said the closure will also affect periodical delivery. 

If residents have their newspapers delivered through the mail, like subscribers to national newspapers or State Journal subscribers who live outside Franklin County, they may receive their papers a day late.

Some locals, like Lizz Taylor, owner of Poor Richard’s Books, said they’re concerned the rerouting of Frankfort mail could affect their businesses.

“It’ll delay the response time for me to receive packages as well as deliver to customers that live elsewhere,” said Taylor, as she stood in line at the Frankfort Post Office on Wilkinson Boulevard Thursday. 

“I’m not happy about it, and people will be disappointed. It probably gives Amazon an edge.”

Several other Frankfort residents waiting in line at the Wilkinson Boulevard post office Thursday also said they weren’t happy with the closure, and expressed concern about getting their essential mail on time. 

“I think it’s ridiculous,” Zachary Hall said. “You got to get your bills on time.” 

Walton said the Postal Service has struggled over the past several years as many now communicate faster with email and text messaging.

That’s why some, like Frankfort resident Brenda Graves, said they don’t anticipate any impact from the consolidation of services. 

“I don’t receive that much snail mail,” Graves said. “I get most of my correspondence through email already.”

According to the Postal Service’s website, annual mail volume decreased by more than 43 billion pieces in the past five years and is continuing to decline. In that same timeframe, first-class mail volume dropped 25 percent and single piece first-class mail – letters bearing postage stamps – declined 36 percent. 

“Because of the rapid decline in first-class mail volume, we really had no choice but to consolidate,” Walton said. 

“We’re knee deep in debt right now.”

In addition to the center in Lexington, processing centers in Bowling Green, Campton, Elizabethtown, Hazard, London, Paducah and Somerset will all be closing sometime later this year. 

Starting in mid-May, the Postal Service will be closing or consolidating more than 250 processing centers nationwide, a move it said will save $3 billion. 

In December of 2011, Congress imposed a moratorium on the Postal Service, asking it not to close or consolidate post offices and mail processing facilities before May 15 to give lawmakers a chance to enact an alternative plan and comprehensive postal legislation. 

Last week, the Postal Service warned it will lose as much as $18.2 billion a year by 2015 unless Congress grants it new leeway to eliminate Saturday delivery and raise the price of a postage stamp by as much as 5 cents.

It is also asking Congress for permission to make service cuts and reduce annual payments of about $5.5 billion to prefund retiree health benefits. 

Earlier this month, the Postal Service said its quarterly loss ballooned to $3.3 billion amid declining mail volume and said it could run out of money by October.

While subject to congressional control on major parts of its operations, the Postal Service is an independent agency of government. It gets no tax dollars for operating expenses, and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.  

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

 

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