A feasibility study completed by the U.S. Postal Service supports discontinuing mail-processing operations at Augusta’s main branch, the postal service has announced.
According to the postal service, local mail - including all mail from Columbia County's five post offices - would be sent to Macon, Ga., or Columbia to be sorted and posted to their destinations.
The consolidation would not close Augusta’s main post office branch, but it would affect 110 jobs and make the standard delivery time two to three days.
“The people who are going to suffer are the people in the community, because … checks, income that goes through the mail, bills, they will be delayed,” said Karen Gilmore, the president of the Augusta-area American Postal Workers Union.
Before taking any action, the postal service will hold a public meeting to get input. If the consolidation goes through, it would save $4.9 million.
Gilmore said the consolidation would let mail be collected at the Augusta branch, but not sorted or mailed out on site. Letters mailed from ZIP codes starting with 308 and 309 - which includes all Columbia County ZIP codes - will go 125 miles to Macon to be sorted; those from the 298 ZIP codes will go to Columbia, 75 miles away.
The postal service has announced several branch closings and consolidations across the U.S.
The postal service would have to reduce its operating costs by $20 billion by 2015 to return to profitability, David Williams, the vice president of network operations, said in a news release.
Gilmore said that because a public hearing is required before making changes, she is not sure public outcry can prevent any changes.
“I think they’re just going through the motions” by having the hearing, she said. “But we’re not going to sit still, either. It’s going to impact everyone.”