JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. - People all over our region use the post office every day. "It's the most efficient way and it's certainly a bang for my $.49 for sending a piece of paper from A to B," said Jerry Kibbe, postal customer.
The amount of people sending mail by first class has decreased over the last five years by 27 percent. U.S. Postal Service spokesperson Susan Wright says it's had a big impact on them, leading them to move one operation to Knoxville. "We're doing this for the overall financial health of the postal service," said Wright.
Wright tells us it's the originating mail operation that will be moved, meaning any mail that is brought to the post office from area codes beginning with 376 or 242 will be sent to Knoxville before being delivered to their rightful home.
This change has some USPS customers like David Branum worried his mail may not get where it needs to be on time. "No matter how much mail you have got, you have to have your mail," said Branum.
Wright says it won't be an issue and the change will be invisible to the customer. "We're making this move because we can do this and cancel that mail in Knoxville without impacting our delivery standards for that mail in anyway," she said.
What it will be affected are the amount of jobs at the post office. "We anticipate this move could impact seven career employees in the Johnson City office," said Wright.
Jerry Kibbe says he feels this is only the first step of many before other post offices are affected. "Once the camel gets his nose under the tent, that's a sign some of the services may diminish," he said.
"We don't know what the future hold. We're looking at all of our options," said Wright.
Wright also told us the move would save on maintenance costs for equipment.
The postal service plans to start using the Knoxville processing facility between June 1 and July 1.