POCATELLO — People in the Gate City are beginning to notice a slowdown in mail delivery since the U.S. Postal Service’s mail processing center on Flandro Drive began its phase out on April 18.

Closure of the Pocatello plant was part of the closure of 82 mail-processing centers in the nation last month to save an estimated

$750 million for the USPS.

But John Paige, president of the Idaho State Association of Letter Carriers, said that package deliveries have slowed since the Pocatello facility stopped processing mail in Southeast Idaho.

“People are tracking them (packages) and they are amazed how long it takes to get from point A to point B,” said Paige, who lives in Pocatello.

Regular mail is also being impacted, according to Paige.

“I delivered a lot of Mother’s Day cards yesterday,” Paige said.

Pocatello Mayor Brian Blad, who led an extensive effort to stop the closure of the Flandro Drive mailing center, said that he’s also hearing complaints about slow delivery.

Blad said he’s heard from smaller, rural communities that have gone days without receiving any mail.

“I hope they (the USPS) get it sorted out,” Blad said.

He said the city of Pocatello has received complaints from utility customers because they are getting late notices the day after they receive the initial bills.

And the mayor has not given up his fight to restore the mail distribution center in the Gate City. 

Blad said President Obama’s chief of staff has agreed to participate in a conference call with Blad and Chubbuck Mayor Kevin England in the near future.

“If anyone can change this, it’s the president,” Blad said.

Regional USPS spokesman Brian Sperry responded to an inquiry about slow mail delivery in eastern Idaho since the closure of Pocatello plant in a Tuesday email.

“The Postal Service is working hard to deliver the best possible service for all customers,” Sperry wrote. “If individuals are having a particular service issue, they should contact the Postal Service either by calling 1-800-ASK-USPS or visit us on our website at usps.com/help

“The Postal Service will continue to work with customers to ensure their mail arrives at its destination as quickly as possible. 

“Our goal is always to meet — and whenever possible — exceed our customers’ expectations.”