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Public hearing Wed. on closing Tucson's postal sorting center

The Postal Service will take public comments on the potential closure of Tucson's mail sorting facility at a meeting Wednesday night.

USPS is proposing to move the mail sorting done at the Tucson center to Phoenix, which would result in a savings of $14 million yearly.

That could result in hundreds of local jobs lost, longer mail delivery times, and higher rates on bulk mail for businesses and nonprofits, city leaders said.

Over 1 million pieces of mail are processed there each year, a news release from Tucson City Councilman Richard Fimbres said.

Up to 400 jobs may be lost if the facility is shuttered, Fimbres said. A release from Mayor Rothschild's office said 147 jobs will be lost and others may be transferred to Phoenix if the center is closed.

"This would be a substantial setback to the effort to rebuild Tucson’s economy," Fimbres said. "In addition, this would also hurt businesses who rely on the distribution center, the elderly who may pay bills by mail or wait for their Social Security checks and medication."

"If Tucson loses the Processing and Distribution Center, the effort to recruit companies to the area would be severely hampered, since the city would be one of the largest without a distribution center," Fimbres said.

Tucson’s Processing and Distribution Center, 1600 S. Cherrybell Stravenue, is located in the main post office complex.

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The City Council voted 6-0 last week to oppose the closure of the mail sorting center.

The closure is only one possibility being considered by the Postal Service. The elimination of overnight service in the Tucson metro area as well as all of the 856* ZIP code areas are also on the table, Fimbres said.

"The current 1 to 3 day standard for first class delivery will become a 2 to 3 day standard. For periodicals the standard will become 2 to 9 days. Bulk mail could take even longer," according to the news release from Rothschild's spokeswoman Lisa Markkula.

Bulk mail rates could jump 4.3 cents per piece, Markkula said, a nearly 20 percent increase for businesses and a 40-48 percent jump for nonprofits.

The public hearing will be held at the Leo Rich Theater, 260 S. Church Ave., at 6 p.m. Business and non-profit users of bulk mail can address USPS representatives beginning at 4 p.m.

Comments to USPS will also be accepted by mail: Management, Consumer and Industry Contact, Arizona District, P.O. Box, 21628, Phoenix, AZ 85036-1628. Written comments must be postmarked by Jan. 12.

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3 comments on this story

Dec 28, 2011, 1:48 am
-2 +1


well, I thought you were ignoring me. But, yeah, I did forget about that ridiculous act.

However, I am still firm in my belief that the USPS is just going to do whatever it is they want to do, regardless of what we have to say about it. Again, I don’t want to see the distribution center close, but if USPS wants to close it I don’t see how they can be stopped.

Dec 27, 2011, 10:29 pm
-0 +3

Actually, Bret, this was brought about by the Postal Accountability Enhancement Act signed into law in 2006 by George Bush, requiring the USPS to fund future retirees’ health benefits for the next 75 years, within 10 years.  The USPS is now required to set aside health-care money for people who aren’t even born, let alone work for the USPS.  There is no other government entity required to do this and is clearly an attack by the right to destroy the largest and oldest union.

The $14 million saved by closing our distribution center is nothing compared to the $5.5 billion the USPS is required to pay for this ridiculous health care package.

Additionally, it’s estimated that there has been between $50-$75 billion in overpayments into pension funds.

If the ridiculous PAEA is repealed and the pension overpayments are put back into the general fund, there will not be any need to terminate Saturday delivery, raise rates, terminate overnight service, or close distribution centers.

Losing the ability to use bulk mail locally will be detrimental to many businesses and nonprofits.

I hope as many people can come tomorrow and voice your comments and concerns.  This area is too large to lose the distribution center.

Dec 27, 2011, 10:07 am
-2 +1

Well, of course I hope we don’t lose the Processing and Distribution center, but something tells me public hearings won’t do anything. The USPS hasn’t taken any tax money in years, so therefore they probably have less of a degree of accountability than other government-run entities.

In other words, USPS is just going to do whatever they want to do. The public hearing is just for show.

I’ve always wondered how much money would be saved by eliminating Saturday delivery.

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Demonstration, march planned

Some opponents of the closure of the Cherrybell sorting center plan a demonstration and march to Wednesday's public hearing.

From 4:30-5:15 p.m., they plan to demonstrate at Veinte de Agosto Park downtown, where Occupy Tucson protesters have been camping out, said organizer Alex Maldonado.

A march will take place at 5:15, east on Congress Street, south on 6th Avenue, west on Broadway and south to the Leo Rich Theater, where the public hearing will be held, he said.