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USPS to Hold Public Meeting Jan. 4 on Springfield Mail Facility

The struggling USPS is considering closing thousands of low-activity post offices, and 252 mail processing centers.
The USPS is reviewing over 3,000 low-activity post offices--many of them in rural areas--and also considering whether to close 252 mail processing centers. (Photo credit: Jennifer Moore, KSMU)

The US Postal Service says it would have to cut $20 billion dollars in costs to turn a profit by 2015.  The service is considering whether to shut down the mail sorting operations at the office on Chestnut Expressway here in Springfield.  The postal service will hold a public meeting January 4 to listen to the concerns and suggestions of locals. KSMU’s Jennifer Moore spoke with a representative of the USPS and has this interview.

Richard Watkins is a spokesman based in Kansas City. Watkins said the USPS is looking at several factors as it tries to make its decision about the Springfield facility.

“The first one…is to take into account, on a national level, the steep decline in total mail volume, but not only that, our most profitable product, which is first class mail, has declined even more dramatically.  So, for the past few years, we’ve been working steadily to reduce the size of our physical infrastructure, which is our facilities,” Watkins said.

He said if the Springfield facility closes, the USPS estimates a “net loss” of 57 positions, since most of the 270 employees working in Springfield’s mail processing center would be able to transfer to the Kansas City facility if they wanted to.

Watkins said that there’s an assumption that the internet has only had a negative impact on the USPS.  It’s true, he said, that online bill payment has skyrocketed in the past ten years, meaning fewer people are paying their bills by snail mail.

“However, online shopping has provided the postal service and other shippers with a great opportunity to deliver packages.  And our highly popular priority mail flat rate boxes are really the ship of choice for Ebay customers,” Watkins said.

He says the USPS is proud of the fact that it hasn’t used taxpayer dollars since 1982.

“We want to keep it that way. But in order to do that, we’ve simply got to respond to this significant decline in mail volume. To do otherwise would be irresponsible on our part,” Watkins said.

Watkins said USPS officials will consider public input when making their decision on whether to close the Springfield mail sorting operation.  The public meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. January 4 at the Executive Conference Center Ballroom.  The address is 910 W. Battlefield Road in Springfield.

Anyone who wishes to submit comments in writing can send them to:

Manager, Consumer and Industry Contact

Mid-America District

300 W. Pershing Rd, Suite 207

Kansas City, MO 64108-9631

All comments must be postmarked by Jan. 19, 2012.

For KSMU News, I’m Jennifer Moore.