The U.S. Postal Service announced Wednesday that it will stop delivering mail on Saturdays but continue to deliver packages six days a week. Many in Lawrence say that is fine with them.
The reason for the cuts, according to U.S. Postmaster General and CEO Patrick R. Donahoe, is the agency's ongoing financial problems. The delivery change, which is expected to begin Aug. 5, would save about $2 billion each year.
“Our financial condition is urgent,” Donahoe said at a press conference.
In Lawrence, officials at City Hall, Kansas University, Lawrence Memorial Hospital, business owners and residents said they didn't think the change would affect them at all. Under the new plan, mail would be delivered to homes and businesses Monday through Friday, but would still be delivered to post office boxes on Saturdays. The Lawrence post office branch at 645 Vermont St., would retain its Saturday hours, from 9 a.m. to noon.
Dan Nicholson, a pastor at a Lawrence church, said that would be good enough for him. He was at the Vermont Street post office Wednesday, and will still be able to access his post office box six days a week.
"It's just another day," Nicholson said. "If I were a business, maybe that would be different."
But even local copy and printing businesses that depend heavily on mailings and delivery services said they would be fine on Saturdays. At Copy Co, 1401 W 23rd St., store manager Evan Friedman said he had read about the coming change and, after thinking about it, decided things wouldn't change much for him. The store, which uses other delivery services for important packages, depends on the postal service only for invoices and other smaller items.
"It's nothing that's going to hurt us by not getting it on Saturday," Friedman said.
Dee Bisel, owner of Minuteman Press, 501 Gateway Dr., said her business is heavily involved in producing and shipping mass mailing items such as newsletters and advertisements, and if service was cut on a weekday, it could be bad for business. But Minuteman operates Monday through Friday and doesn't need mail service on Saturdays. Bisel said the change was smart.
"They've got to do something to cut back somehow," she said. "What the heck, your bills will still be there Monday."
Lawrence Memorial Hospital hasn't had Saturday delivery in a long time, said Belinda Rehmer, an LMH spokeswoman. The hospital has its mail picked up and delivered by two services and neither comes to the hospital on Saturdays.
At City Hall, officials also are not concerned. The cuts should not affect city services, such as the mailing of utility bills, said Megan Gilliland, communications manager for the city. "We mail all of our bills on Mondays or Fridays, and the cycles are built so that individuals have 21 days to pay their bills," she said. "Residents should still have enough time to pay their bills even without Saturday mail service."
Not everyone agrees with the change. Local representatives of the letter carriers' union, the National Association of Letter Carriers, said their position was detailed in a statement released by the union's president Wednesday that strongly opposed the cuts.
No information about possible layoffs or changes to staffing at local post offices was available Wednesday.
Postal service officials say cuts are necessary and the change capitalizes on the agency's strengths. Package delivery has increased by 14 percent since 2010, officials say, while the delivery of letters and other mail has declined with the increasing use of email and other Internet services.