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Postal Service study could deliver bad news to Youngstown

Published: Wed, July 20, 2011 @ 12:10 a.m.

Shipping out work to Akron or Cleveland would cost 500 jobs, $500K in taxes

By Karl Henkel



Nearly 500 local jobs and $500,000 in city income taxes could be at risk if the U.S. Postal Service decides to consolidate Youngstown’s processing and distribution facilities.

The Postal Service will conduct a study to decide if the Youngstown workload can be shouldered by postal facilities in Akron or Cleveland.

The USPS says the study is needed because of the current economic downturn and continued Internet diversion that has led to a 20 percent decline in mail volume since 2007.

The effect has been historically large deficits, said Todd Hawkins, the Postal Service’s district manager for Northern Ohio.

“As a result of the volume loss, we have more facilities, equipment and people than we need to process a declining volume of mail,” he said. “We have to reduce the size of our network because we are no longer receiving enough revenue to sustain its cost.

“One way to do that is to consolidate operations where feasible.”

The Youngstown processing center employs 215, and the distribution center employs 261. That compares with 2008 staffing levels of 247 at the processing center and 283 at the distribution center.

It’s more likely that work normally done by the processing center would be consolidated and that mail distribution routes would be streamlined.

Youngstown’s facilities are smaller than those in Cleveland and Akron and has seen a mail-volume decrease that mirrors the national decline.

“Mail would continue to get delivered,” said Victor Dubina of the postal service. “It wouldn’t affect what people see.”

David Bozanich, Youngs-town’s finance director, said the $500,000 tax loss plus increased unemployment would be a hindrance to the city.

“Either way, it’s not good,” he said. “We need every job we can get in this city.”

If the feasibility study supports the business case for changing mail-processing operations, the postal service will have a public meeting to allow the community to ask questions and provide feedback. This input will be considered in the final proposal.

The postal service previously consolidated Youngstown’s South and East Side distribution centers earlier this year.

USPS, which receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations, is soliciting the public’s input as part of the study process. Comments may be submitted to Consumer and Industry Contact Manager, U.S. Postal Service Northern Ohio District, 2400 Orange Ave., Room 25, Cleveland, Ohio 44101-9631.

The postal service says it has annual revenue of more than $67 billion and delivers nearly 40 percent of the world’s mail.

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