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Feb 25, 2013 7:40 PM by Erika Flores

USPS first day processing in Phoenix

TUCSON - When you get a letter in the mail from now on, it won't be stamped from Tucson.

The city's mail processing is in Phoenix starting Monday.

The Postal Service has experienced a 25% decline in First Class mail since 2006.

As a result, Tucson's mail processing facility on Cherrybell is among more than 200 across the country to be shut down.

They hope to have the consolidation completed by 2015 a move that's expected to save them more than $20 billion.

The United States Postal Service said processing mail from Phoenix will not impact service.

They expect to deliver mail at the same pace as before this move, but there are a lot of worried people who disagree.

Josefina Prado Lizarraga owns West Boutique Florist.

A small business, she relies heavily on the postal service.

"I have a lot of mail coming every single day," said Lizarraga.

And she doesn't like the idea of having her mail trucked to Phoenix just to be shipped back into town.

"I think that will delay some of the deliveries I think," said Lizarraga.

Lizarraga said it's the fear of those delays that keeps her from sending payments through the mail.

"We had problems," said Lizarraga.

Lizarraga said once, she sent her telephone payment through the mail three weeks before it was due.

"They never got the payment, so they disconnected my telephone and I had to pay right away to get my service back," said Lizarraga.

She said her check did make it later, but she's afraid there will be more delays with mail getting processed in Phoenix.

"The equipment we're using is bigger and faster than the equipment we have here," said Robert Soler with USPS.

Soler said there shouldn't be any delays.

He said the mail will move on existing transportation and since First Class mail has decreased 25 percent over the past five years, Phoenix has the capability to process Southern Arizona's mail.

"You'll notice no change in service," said Soler.

But Ward 5 Councilman Richard Fimbres and county recorder F. Ann Rodriguez beg to differ.

"It's not only the city of Tucson but all Southern Arizona rural communities will be affected by this," said Fimbres.

F. Ann Rodriguez is concerned about mail-in ballots.

"What's going to happen in the next Presidential election as voting by mail increases and the influx of the demand of the postal service?" said F. Ann Rodriguez.

Lizarraga said she just hopes the Postal Service doesn't let them down.

USPS said they will work closely with the Pima County Recorder's office to make sure mail-in ballots are sent out and delivered on schedule.

As for the reduction of positions at the Cherrybell location, they said those employees will be offered other positions in the postal service in Tucson.

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