USPS troubles affecting the Grand Strand and Pee Dee

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) The United States Postal Service says that fewer people are using the mail to pay their bills, and instead they are turning to the Internet. In 2000, 5 percent of Americans paid bills online, and in 2010, that number grew to 50 percent. This has caused mail volume to fall 25 percent over the last five years, and $20 billion in losses for USPS.

Right now, the postal service is going to spend the next couple of months looking at processing plants nation wide, and the Florence processing plant is the only one in South Carolina that will be studied to see if it needs to be shut down. That's because the Florence plant has the least amount of mail volume coming through.

The Communications Director for the plant, Harry Spratlin, says that if the Florence location were shut down, then all mail would have to go to Columbia for processing.

"The future of the postal service is that we're going to have less mail going through the system," said Spratlin. "So I would say that the likelihood of this feasibility study going through is pretty fair at this time, if not this time then maybe sometime in the future." Spratlin also said that this shouldn't affect the amount of time it will take to deliver your mail, but the logistics are still being worked out.

156 people now work at the Florence plant, and if it were shut down, they would be given the opportunity to apply for other jobs within USPS. Many other employees are facing the same reality nationwide. USPS says it may have to cut 35,000 jobs. USPS has closed 186 locations since 2006, and says it's just trying to deal with the new reality.

If it's necessary to close down the Florence plant, USPS will hold a public meeting in Florence to discuss what will happen next.

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