Saturday first-class mail ending could impact local businesses

Published On: Feb 06 2013 06:18:31 PM CST   Updated On: Feb 06 2013 07:33:20 PM CST
USPS
LA CROSSE, Wis. -

Some big changes are coming to your mail delivery service.

Starting in August, the U.S. Postal Service will no longer deliver first-class mail on Saturdays.

The change could generate a savings of $2 billion annually.

The change comes as more and more people are shopping, paying their bills and keeping connected with friends and family through the Internet.

But even so, there are just some things that still need to be done through traditional mail delivery.

The upcoming changes could mean a delay in some very important information like medical results and tax returns.

In the mail room at Gundersen Lutheran, hundreds of thousands of pieces of mail are processed here each month.

“And that doesn't include the billing piece at all,” said Jane Vinson, supervisor of mail services at Gundersen Lutheran. “This is just the day-to-day operations.”

While just about everything in the envelopes can be accessed through Gundersen's secure online website, Vinson said some patients, especially the older generation, are still waiting for these letters to come in the mail.

Now that first-class mail deliveries on Saturdays will end, Vinson said the extra wait for the mail is not good news for those patients.

“The patient is going to be anxious (and) they are going to be stressed out,” said Vinson. “If my medication going to have to change or if they do have a problem, they're even more anxious because they want to find out what the test results are.”

The months of January to mid-April, also known as tax season, are busy and stressful enough for Watermark Tax and Bookkeeping in La Crosse.

Owner, Francine Sherbert said next year's tax season may bring more challenges with the change in deliveries.

“Mainly, it's people want to get their return done as soon as possible and they're going to be upset,” said Sherbert.

Sherbert said while 95% of tax returns are filed online, there are still some documents that need to be sent to the government by mail before refunds can be issued.

“They're still at the stage where they want originals to back up things, especially Wisconsin,” said Sherbert.

While the end to Saturday first-class mail deliveries is not something Vinson and Sherbert look forward to, it's a change they'll have to embrace to maintain business as usual.

Both Gundersen Lutheran and Water Mark Tax and book keeping said they're still not sure how to prepare for the change.

They said it may require some training and a change in procedure to make sure important documents can arrive on time even without first-class mail services on Saturdays.

Not all Saturday services will end in August. Packages, priority and express mail will still be delivered as well as mail-order medications.