Back in September, the Cincinnati District of the United States Postal Service announced that an Area Mail Processing (AMP) feasibility study would be conducted at the Lima Processing and Distribution Facility. The USPS indicated that the study was the result of a decline in the amount of single-piece First Class mail. According to their website, the USPS said that from 1998-2008, mail volume has declined by 19 billion pieces, or 29 percent. They have also implemented the use of newer, more efficient mail processing equipment.

These two factors have improved the efficiency of mail processing centers all over the country. The USPS conducted the feasibility study to determine if the Lima facility operations should be combined with and transferred to the Toledo processing facility.

This is not the only AMP study that has taken place in the U.S. recently. A total of 67 studies (in various stages of completion) are listed on the USPS website, with four of them in Ohio: Lima, Canton, Mansfield, and Zanesville.

The USPS has determined that the initial results of the AMP study for Lima "support the business case for consolidation." However, the study is currently being reviewed at the USPS Headquarters and the Eastern Area Office, and "is subject to change."

A public meeting will be held to share the initial results of the AMP study and to allow for members of the community to ask questions and provide feedback. The USPS indicates that the public's input will be considered prior to a final decision.

The meeting will be held on Wednesday, January 6 at 7 p.m. at the Lima Senior High School, located at 1 Spartan Way. In addition, the USPS will be accepting public comments by mail for up to 15 days after the date of the meeting (postmarked by January 21). These comments may be sent to Consumer Affairs Manager, Cincinnati District, 1591 Dalton Avenue, Room 108, Cincinnati, OH 45234-9631.

Few details have been provided about the study's results, but include the following: the proposed annual savings from consolidating the Lima and Toledo offices are $1.4 million. There will also be a net decrease of approximately 57 positions, with reassignments made "in accordance with collective bargaining agreements."

Services that will continue after the consolidation include: collection box pick-up times will not change; business mail will be accepted at the Lima Main Post Office; a local postmark will be available for stamped First Class Mail; and delivery of mail to residences and businesses will not change.

For commercial mailers: mailers who presort mail will continue to receive applicable postage discounts; and mailers who drop ship to Destination Sectional Center Facility 458 can expect changes if the AMP is approved.

On the opposing side of this proposed consolidation is the 458 Regional Postal Task Force, which was formed by business, political and community leadership within the eight county region that would be impacted by the loss of the Lima processing center. The Task Force has formed a website asking people to become involved and voice their opinions on the closure of the Lima processing center. According to their website, the Task Force believes that the Lima processing center is "the low cost option and should be a part of this future." Out of 266 processing centers in 2008, Lima was ranked third, and in 2009, was ranked first, so the Task Force is questioning the validity of closing a "high performance facility."

The Task Force highlighted some possible negative effects of the closure as:

- Service Delays. Bulk mail is "generally delivered the next day. By moving this processing to Toledo a longer delivery time can be expected. Prior to this feasibility study, the Saturday processing of 458 mail had already been moved to Toledo. This shift meant that a letter or parcel mailed to your neighbor is sent to Toledo to be postmarked. The additional transit time means delay in delivery to the addressee."

- Cost Increases. Business bulk mailers, including schools, hospitals, and government entities that now receive an entry point discount of four cents per piece of mail will lose that discount.

- Loss of jobs. The Task Force is trying to preserve 100 jobs in the community; jobs held by local residents who "perform to the highest standards and recognized as the best in the U.S. Postal Service."

More information is available at or for more information on the 458 Regional Postal Task Force, visit their website at