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Post office's plan to cut costs may have more impact locally

By Pam Cunningham, Reporter
Published On: Sep 14 2011 07:00:00 PM CDT
Updated On: Sep 15 2011 05:50:03 PM CDT

It's no secret the U.S. Postal Service is facing a financial crisis. Now, it's rolling out a new proposal to cut costs.

READING, Pa. -

It's no secret the U.S. Postal Service is facing a financial crisis. Now, it's rolling out a new proposal to cut costs.

It's considering closing more than 250 mail processing facilities across the country, including one in Reading.

The Gus Yatron Post Office in Reading is also a processing center. The U.S. Postal Service has already moved some of its operations to Allentown and Harrisburg. Now, it's thinking about processing the rest of Berks County's mail in Harrisburg, instead of Reading.

Darla Sachetta of West Lawn had two flat rate boxes in her trunk outside the Wyomissing Post Office.

"She gets a box about twice a month and I could never do this with some of the other mailing services," said Sachetta. "This enables me to keep in touch." 

Sachetta was mailing the boxes to her granddaughter in Colorado.

"When family members live far away, I think the postal service brings us together,"  said Sachetta. "I'm a fan of the postal service."

Sachetta relies on the service, but realizes the U.S. Postal Service is facing a financial crisis. She lost her post office in West Lawn and doesn't like the idea of losing the 13th Street processing plant in Reading. 

"I think it will just take the mail longer to get wherever it's going," said Sachetta, "which is just more inconvenience for everybody, more planning ahead and thinking ahead."

Bill Kolson, of Kutztown, agrees.

"It would probably cripple it," said Kolson.

The U.S. Postal Service said it will conduct a study and hold a public hearing before deciding whether to close the Reading facility. A study would be completed by early next year.

The Postmaster General, Patrick Donahoe, said the organization is bleeding money.  The U.S. Postal Service reports annual mail volume has declined by more than 43 billion pieces in the past five years, and officials don't expect things to get better, even when the economy improves.

"Run it just like a business instead of another government agency that just loses money and makes us pay for it," said Kolson.  

Donahoe said the U.S.Postal Service does not get money from the federal government, but he does have to go before Congress to change its business model.

Consolidating mail processing is one idea. Donahoe would also like to limit delivery to Monday through Friday.