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Plattsburgh mail processing center closure OK'd

The mail processing center in Plattsburgh will be closed and its operations moved to Albany. The center isn't alone as 232 other centers nationwide will be consolidated wholly or partially, according to a United State Postal Service release Feb. 23.

The mail processing center in Plattsburgh will be closed and its operations moved to Albany. The center isn't alone as 232 other centers nationwide will be consolidated wholly or partially, according to a United State Postal Service release Feb. 23. Photo by John Grybos.

— After five months of review, the Plattsburgh mail processing center will close, and one-day deliveries will soon take two, the United States Postal Service announced Feb. 23

The 46 Veterans Lane facility has no retail operations, and the remaining duties at the local facility will be moved to Albany. This facility is not the post office on Miller Street where P.O. boxes are filled and packages are mailed.

No date has yet been set to close the facility, but the USPS agreed to not move forward with consolidations before May 15. Until a date's set, operations will continue as normal at the Plattsburgh facility.

That date holds for local post offices slated for closure, though those identified to be closed will still begin shuttering after that date, said USPS Spokeswoman Maureen Marion.

Consolidation is a cost-cutting measure in a time when the USPS is struggling to make ends meet. First-class mail declined 25 perecent since 2006.

Retailers who once sent out truckloads of catalogs now send postcards referring customers to websites, said Marion. With no tax dollars funding the USPS, those drops in stamp revenue mean the USPS has to shrink.

USPS expects advertising mail to level off, but doesn’t see a future where first-class mail returns to the numbers seen in the ’70s and ’80s, when the postal service expanded significantly.

“We just are too big for how much mail we have to process,” said Marion.

The USPS lost $3.3 billion dollars last quarter alone. The consolidation plan is part of a larger strategy the organization hopes will save $20 billion dollars through 2015, helping preserve the network that delivers to 150 million addresses daily.

Of 264 national mail processing facilities, 223 were identified as eligible for consoldation wholly or in part. This is part of a plan that will slow down first-class mail, said Marion. Mail that once took one day to get to its final mailbox will instead take two.

“This is nationwide, it’s not just Plattsburgh,” said Marion. “It’s related to how people use the mail. It’s changed.”

What people once used one-day delivery for is often taken care of with internet services. Letters and large volumes of data are transferred much more quickly through the internet infrastructure.

Marion said the USPS will work with its employees to help them make career decisions, but noted that so far the service has been lucky to not need massive layoffs. The average age of a mail processing employee is 52.

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