Last updated: August 25. 2013 4:59AM - 1233 Views

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LIMA — The mail from ZIP codes beginning "458" no longer will be processed in Toledo. It will be processed in Columbus beginning July 8, the U.S. Postal Service confirmed Thursday.

The move has been in the works for more than a year but hasn't had a certain date.

Several years ago, the Postal Service consolidated and closed the Lima processing center, sending mail from the region to Toledo. In 2012, the agency announced it was consolidating further and planned to move Lima-area mail from Toledo to Columbus.

When the process is complete, the only mail processing centers open in Ohio will be Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati, Postal Service spokesman David Van Allen said.

By 2014, processing centers in Akron, Athens, Canton, Chillicothe, Dayton, Ironton, Steubenville, Toledo and Youngstown will be closed.

Because of agreements with unions, Van Allen said, effected employees are offered transfers to other open jobs.

“We’re working closely with the unions and with the framework of the bargaining agreement,” he said.

Expected delivery times for first-class mail won’t change with the consolidation, Van Allen said.

In 2010, the USPS closed the Lima Processing and Distribution Center, moving all mail handling for the 458 ZIP code area to Toledo. The shift and miscalculations in mail volume and staffing levels led to countless delivery problems and delays. It moved 80 jobs out of town.

Lima officials and residents fought the move, citing the productivity and efficiency of the Lima facility and predicting the very issues that followed.

The Postal Service has experienced a 25 percent decline in first-class mail volume since 2006 and receives no tax dollars for its operations, relying on the sale of postage, and postal products and services. Internet practices — such as email and online bill pay — have reduced postal revenue, and the agency has been hit by the Postal Accountability Enhancement Act of 2006 — a congressional mandate to prefund health and retirement benefits for postal workers several decades into the future. The cuts in Ohio are part of a nationwide plan cut $3 million and between 200 and 300 processing facilities.

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