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      Low turnout for meeting on possible closure of Florence mailing center

      About 50 people turned out for a meeting to learn more about the possible closure of the U.S. Postal Service's mail processing center in Florence.

      Officials expected a large crowd, and that's why they changed locations from Poynor Adult Education Center to West Florence High School.

      Some residents say they didn't find out until the last minute.

      "I think you owe the citizens of Florence to hold another meeting here and do a little bit better job corresponding with them for them to be at these meetings. You're talking about their futures and their homes," said Steve Powers.

      The future of the Florence mail processing center is what's in question.

      It's one of 252 centers across the country that could shut down.

      "Put it simply, to process less mail, we need fewer facilities," said Nicholas Rinaldi, USPS Greater South Carolina District.

      The Postal Service may move the Florence operations to Columbia.

      If that happens, 158 jobs will be impacted.

      "You're leaving us out. You're leaving us out. Look at the map. You're cutting us off. I really think the Florence processing center needs to stay, " said Michael Beckham.

      "It's not a profit making organization. It's in the constitution, and you guys are failing in your responsibilities. Don't tell me you want to make more profits out of this. You're not in business to make profit. You're in the business to make sure I make my mail, so I can make a profit," said Steve Wukela.

      Postal officials say they've lost $25 billion in the last five years.

      They've seen a deep decline in mail volume as more people turn to the internet.

      If they move the Florence operations to Columbia, next day delivery of first class mail will be all but eliminated, and you would get your mail in two to three days.

      "I would hate to think that we would get businesses that would pass by Florence in favor of Columbia because they could get overnight delivery of mail there," said Tom Marschel.

      "If the mail is going to be delivered in two to three days time as opposed to overnight, that means that it's going to take longer for them to pay their creditors," said Toni James.

      Nothing is final yet and postal officials will take the publics comments into consideration.

      Last week, the postal service announced it would agree to a moratorium on any post office or processing center closures until March.

      You can mail your comments to the address below on the possible closure of the Florence mail processing center. You have until January 3rd to do so.

      Manager, Consumer and Industry Contact

      Greater South Carolina District

      2001 Dixiana Road

      West Columbia, SC 29172-3007