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Postal Service May Study Possible Closings In S. Florida

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MIAMI (CBS4)- The U.S. Postal Service is expected to announce major changes that could include studying closing some sites.

Information about South Florida sites is expected to be announced later Thursday morning, according to CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald.

Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe testified before U.S. senators earlier this month that the Postal Service is running out of money and on track to lose $10 billion this year. Donahue said the postal service must shutter some post offices, consolidate processing centers and slash at least 120,000 jobs, the Miami Herald reported.

In the past four years, the Postal Service has reduced costs by more than $12 billion and reduced its workforce by 110,000 employees, according to a Sept. 6 news release.

Donahoe asked senators to pass legislation that would allow it to determine deliver frequency and make changes to its healthcare and benefits.

In June, CBS4 reported that the USPS was in dire need of money and have turned to Congress, including South Florida Representative Mario Diaz-Balart, to help get its financial house in order.

Specifically, the USPS wants Diaz-Balart and other Congressional members to allow the postal service to stop making a federally mandated pre-payment to its pension fund and let the postal service determine the frequency of mail delivery, among other issues.

The USPS said it’s in a “dire financial predicament” despite recent downsizing and increases in costs of stamps and other postal services. If Congress doesn’t act, the USPS said it can’t meet the $5.5 billion pre-payment due by September 30.

In addition, the USPS said that a cash shortfall is imminent and that “the Postal Service is facing the real prospect that it will not be able to meet payroll next (fiscal) year, thus disrupting mail delivery.”

But as Congress struggles to enact steep budget cuts, it remains to be seen whether the USPS’ requests will fall on deaf ears.

On June 3, the Edison Center Finance Unit at 760 NW 62 Street and the Miami International Airport Finance Unit in the fourth floor of the airport terminal closed its doors permanently.

The USPS cited a drastic decline in mail volume and postage sales as the reason for the closure. It is estimated that nearly 30 percent of postal transactions are completed using alternate retail channels.

Officials report a 2010 revenue of $67.1 billion, down from $74.9 billion the previous year.

The Postal Service is the second-largest employer in the country behind Wal-Mart and has more than 500,000 workers and supports millions of related jobs. Mail delivery has declined as more Americans turn to the Internet to pay bills.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald contributed material for this report)

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