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Businesspeople speak at USPS town hall meeting

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Several members of the business community spoke at a town hall meeting held last night at the Executive Conference Center, 910 W. Battlefield Road, on the possible closure of the U.S. Postal Service's Springfield sorting center on West Chestnut Expressway.

After USPS officials discussed the findings of a September study that found the postal service would save more than $7.5 million annually if it consolidates the Springfield sorting center with a Kansas City site, the meeting was opened to public comment. A video of the meeting has been posted on the Web site of Occupy Springfield.

Here are excerpts during about an hour of public comment:
  • Rob Dixon, vice president of business assistance for the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce: "We ask that you consider .. the ripple effect (this) would send throughout the rest of the economy by losing so many jobs in our region, by removing so much payroll from our region, as well as the effects that it's going to have on local government services when you reduce our local economy in that regard."
  • Jennifer Jackson, publisher of SBJ Publishing Inc.: "A change like this would delay our information, it would push back our process, and frankly, it would make the information that we deliver, and that people depend on to run their businesses, obsolete. I think the goal of everyone here is the same, and that is to keep the postal service viable. My experience in business tells me that in order to succeed, you have to find a win/win solution. The solution has to work for you, I get that -  it has to work for me, too, and if it doesn't work for us both, ultimately we both lose, because you will lose me as a customer along with others who are in the same business that I am."
  • Jeff Schrag, president of The Daily Events: "For us, daily service is the essence of everything that we do. My newspaper is 132 years old. We've always been distributed through the mail. What I fear is that you're going to drive the viability of the post office down by decisions like this. I believe people depend on the post office in large part because of the timeliness of the delivery. I beg of you to reconsider this decision, and to keep daily mail as a core value of the U.S. Postal Service."
  • U.S. Congressman Billy Long, R-Mo.: "This area is growing faster than any part of the state. When I talked to the folks in my office in Washington, it sounded to me like it was pretty well a done deal. My question is: In all honesty, what's the best sales pitch we can make, what can we do and is there anything we can do to keep the mail being processed here in Springfield? Why do you need to hear from us? Is there anything that can be said to change this decision?"
If the Springfield mailing center is closed, the USPS expects to realize a net loss of about 57 positions. In addition, the USPS estimates that first class postage mailed within the city would take two to three days if processing operations here ceased. Retail operations would remain at the Chestnut Expressway facility.
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