WASHINGTON — The financially troubled Postal Service said Thursday it may close more than 250 mail processing facilities and plans to reduce service standards for first-class mail in an effort to cut costs.
A handful of the facilities are in Florida, including one at 3135 First Ave. N in St. Petersburg.
"Mail volume has gone down each year," said Enola Rice, U.S. Postal Service spokeswoman.
Rice said that if officials determine it's feasible, the processing currently handled at the St. Petersburg facility will be consolidated with another facility's near Tampa International Airport. That wouldn't necessarily mean layoffs for the 208 employees who work in St. Petersburg, though.
"They would be offered other positions," Rice said, adding that cost savings would come from shrinking building and equipment maintenance costs. A decision isn't expected until early 2012, Rice said.
The steps are part of a broad effort to cut costs for the agency, which lost $8.5 billion last year and is facing ever more red ink this year as the Internet siphons off the lucrative first-class mail.
The mail processing facilities being reviewed are in addition to about 3,700 local post offices also being reviewed for closure. Closing the mail processing facilities could affect 35,000 workers.
In addition, the agency said it plans to reduce current delivery standards for first-class mail. Such mail is now supposed to be delivered in one to three days, depending on how far it has to go. That will be changed to two to three days, meaning mailers could no longer expect next-day delivery in their local community.
Staff writer Kameel Stanley contributed to this report.