Sorting through changes at Waterloo's USPS facility - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Sorting through changes at Waterloo's USPS facility

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -

Wednesday night, community members are having their say about a plan to close the USPS Mail Processing Center in Waterloo. The United States Postal Service is considering moving all processing operations in Iowa to Des Moines, shutting down facilities in Waterloo, Cedar Rapids, Carroll, and Creston. It's part of an overall effort to balance the postal service budget.

More than one hundred people attended Wednesday night's informational meeting. Some were just there to listen, but most took the time to step up, and give their feedback in person -- a few voicing their concerns loud and clear.

"My cause is Waterloo. And with the population center near Grundy Center, why not bring the jobs to Waterloo?" said Tim Powers, a concerned citizen who believes the Postal Service is being mismanaged from above.

"We have 99 employees potentially affected. Of that, 80 percent may have to relocate -- possibly forcing some people into retirement because those costs are going to be too much to bear," explained American Postal Workers Union Local 451 President, Kimberly Karol.

The proposal would make Des Moines the hub for all of Iowa's mail sorting and distribution. It's a plan which the regional district manager admits would mean delays in mail delivery.

"In order for Waterloo to work, because of its distance, it's tied to the idea that we may relax our service. Instead of an overnight, two day, three day First Class, it's just two day, three day," said Jim Herrmann, Hawkeye District Manager.

"If you drop off a letter at Crossroads to go downtown, it's going to take two days, possibly three days to get from Des Moines to be delivered. And that makes us obsolete," added Karol.

The postal service is estimating the changes would save about $3.5 million annually -- and that's just in Waterloo. However -- it would cost six million to renovate the Des Moines processing center.

"Our plants are pretty small. So it makes it difficult to absorb a whole plant like Waterloo," said Herrmann.

Right now, it's just a proposal, and those at the meeting are hoping their comments will prevent the plan, from becoming reality.

"I hope the community realizes this is going to be a significant change. And that they are not willing to make that sacrifice," said Karol.

The USPS has similar meetings planned in Carroll and Creston Thursday and Friday, respectfully. Nationwide, more than 250 processing centers are in limbo. The postal service has not announced when it will make a final decision.

The USPS is accepting written comments regarding the plan to consolidate mail processing -- but they must be postmarked by January 12th.

Mail written comments to:

MANAGER, CONSUMER & INDUSTRY CONTACT

US POSTAL SERVICE

HAWKEYE DISTRICT

7900 HICKMAN RD

DES MOINES, IA 50324-4400

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