GREENSBORO – The U.S. Postal Service has outlined a plan to deal with plummeting mail volume and a multibillion dollar shortfall projected for the next decade.
If Congress gives its stamp of approval, the agency's 10-year plan would eliminate Saturday mail delivery and close some post offices in North Carolina and other states.
The Postal Service is trying to play catch up, reacting to a changing market as it stares at a projected $238 billion shortfall through 2020.
“We've had a good business model that served us well, served the American public very well for many years,” said Carl Walton, spokesman for the agency's Greensboro district, which encompasses the upper half of the state. “But the market has changed, technology has advanced and we need to change our business model."
Growth in e-mail continues to erode the agency's mail volume, so, it will propose to Congress the elimination of Saturday delivery.
“We've surveyed customers,” said Walton. “We've had surveys done by two companies for customers across the country and 70 percent of them have said they're fine with eliminating Saturday as opposed to the other days."
It was fine with Gary Deese.
"It's fine, fine, fine,” said Deese. “They need to save money and we can get along with mail five days a week without any question."
Others hoped the postal service won't downsize its core mission.
"I would like that they would look around for some other ways rather than cutting mail delivery, because that's the main part," said Ned Wilson.
Walton said going to five-day delivery would provide the Postal Service with much-needed savings.
"If we go to a five-day delivery from six, we can save at least $3 billion a year across the board, and each year the savings are projected to be a little higher," said Walton.
Closing unprofitable post offices is still under consideration. Some of them are in Walton's district.
"On the last listing that came out, I believe there were about four locations that were still on the list," said Walton.
The agency also plans to propose what it calls a modest price increase, effective in 2011.
Last year was the third year in a row the U.S. Postal Service lost money.
The agency posted a loss of $2.8 billion in fiscal 2008 and $5 billion in 2007.