February 7, 2013
LIMA —Through rain or shine, snow or sleet, we deliver your mail — except Sundays and now Saturdays.
The United States Postal Service said Wednesday it will not be delivering mail on Saturdays anymore but will continue to distribute packages six days a week, generating a savings of about $2 billion annually.
The new plan is set to take effect the week of Aug. 5. Post offices now operating Saturdays will remain open, and mail will be delivered to homes and businesses Monday through Friday. Mail will continue to be delivered to post office boxes Saturdays.
The Postal Service first examined changing package and mail delivery to a Monday-through-Friday schedule but, due to the strong growth of its package business, decided just to cut back on mail delivery.
In fact, Postmaster General and CEO Patrick R. Donahoe reported the Postal Service’s package delivery business has increased 14 percent in the past three years.
“The American public understands the financial challenges of the Postal Service and supports these steps as a responsible and reasonable approach to improving our financial situation,” Donahoe said in a press release Wednesday.
But it hasn’t been sunshine for the agency in prior years. Because it is an independent agency, the Postal Service does not receive tax dollars, putting it in a financial bind. Despite the Postal Service's independent status, Congress still controls its actions. However, because Congress is functioning under a temporary spending measure and not its original appropriations bill that included a ban on five-day delivery service, the Postal Service technically may make the change itself, according to Postal Service officials.
Furthermore, Donahoe said research indicated nearly seven in 10 Americans support getting rid of Saturday mail as a way for the Postal Service to cut costs.
And he may be right. Most Lima residents said the switch won’t really affect their daily lives.
“As long as it keeps coming Monday through Friday, we’re okay,” said Victor Ramirez, who has lived in Lima for 14 years. “It doesn’t really bother me much.”
Another resident said she's happy Saturday package delivery will continue.
“I don’t mind as long as packages don’t get cut, because that’s how I get my medication,” said Ruthie Mays, of Lima. “The only thing that comes on Saturday anyways are bills and my medicine. Sad to see it go, but they’ve gotta do what they’ve gotta do.”
And one more Lima resident echoed he won’t mind the change because his mail seems to be lighter on Saturdays.
“I guess it won’t be too much of a change, being that I hardly get mail on Saturdays,” said Tim Capretta, of Lima.
Yet some are still critical of the Postal Service’s financial situation and government guidelines.
“If the government would let the U.S.P.S. manage its money without all the restrictions , they would be fine,” Lima resident Bailey Myers-Horner wrote in a Facebook post. “We need the postal system. It is a vital part of our economy and country. If the electricity goes out, your email won’t be there, but your letter will be delivered through rain, snow, wind, etc. Nothing will detain the mailman from his route.”
Others were just happy postal workers were able to keep their jobs.
“As long as it keeps all the postal workers in jobs, I am fine with that,” said Lisa McCourt Hollar, of Lima. “Think of how many people would be out of work if the postal service went under.”
Donahoe reported the Postal Service announced the switch more than six months in advance so businesses and residents will have time to plan and adjust.
But that might not be necessary for all businesses. Dave Beck, owner of Quick as a Wink Printing in downtown Lima, said it won’t affect his business at all: Quick as a Wink is closed Saturdays.
“We’re a certified mailer, and the automated mailing center in the back of the post office is not open on Saturday anyhow. So really as far as the actual printing and mailing, it’s not going to affect a lot of businesses,” Beck said Wednesday.
Alter Ego Comics in downtown Lima also won't see any dramatic effects from the change. Owner Marc Bowker said because packages are still being delivered on Saturdays, his business should not sustain any loss.
“We do conduct about 75 percent of our sales through the website, but that will not impact those sales really,” Bowker said Wednesday. “Because we’re going to be shipping packages, not a piece of mail. So the loss of Saturday delivery will not impact us.”
The Postal Service has reduced its annual cost base by some $15 billion, reduced the size of its career workforce by 28 percent and consolidated more than 200 mail processing locations in attempts to reduce costs.
“While the change in the delivery schedule announced today is one of the actions needed to restore the financial health of the Postal Service, legislative change is urgently needed to address matters outside other Postal Service’s control,” the press release stated. “The Postal Service continues to seek legislation to provide it with greater flexibility to control costs and generate new revenue and encourages the 113th Congress to make postal reform legislation an urgent priority.”