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Postmaster general: William Street decision likely next year

Chris Caya/WBFO News

The head of the U.S. Postal Service made a surprise visit to Buffalo's William Street Mail Processing Center this morning. 

Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe toured the facility before speaking to the 2,500 attendees at the 108th National Rural Letter Carriers Association Convention. 

After being targeted for closure in a cost-cutting move, the William Street facility won a temporary reprieve from earlier this year. The Postal Service is seeking to close a multi-billion dollar budget shortfall and stay solvent in a time of declining mail volume.

Donahoe told reporters a final decision on the center, which employs around 700 workers, will be made by the end of 2013.

"Our people do a great job in Buffalo, a very good job. [They] provide great service to customers every day. We just have to take a look and see, from an affordability standpoint, what stays open and what doesn't," Donahoe said.

Donahoe says mail volume is down substantially due to the Internet, including an increasing number of people paying their bills online.

"They can't affect the fact that we've lost so much volume. A lot of the volume today bypasses these types of facilities from a sorting standpoint and goes right to delivery routes, and so that's the way we have to make some decisions going forward, based on what the volume looks like," Donahoe added.

Donahoe was booed by the crowd of letter carriers in the downtown Convention Center when he once again called for the need to cut costs by reducing mail delivery to five days a week. 

In June, Rep. Brian Higgins, who also spoke at today's convention, sent a letter to the Chairman of the United States Postal Service Board of Governors calling for Donahoe to be replaced.

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