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Rate hike at the post office

Mattingly: Stock up now on Forever stamps

Published: Monday, Dec. 30, 2013 2:24 p.m. CDT • Updated: Monday, Dec. 30, 2013 2:26 p.m. CDT

PRINCETON — In less than a month, Bureau County residents will join the rest of the nation in paying more to send their first-class mail.

The cost to send first-class mail will increase by 3 cents on Jan. 26, from the current 46 cents per stamp to 49 cents. The increase has been approved by the Postal Regulatory Commission on a temporary, two-year time frame, which will be re-evaluated at the end of that time period.

In detailing its decision in a 219-page ruling, the Postal Regulatory Commission stated the additional $2.8 billion realized through the rate increase is meant to compensate only for the national recession, not to offset for losses caused by Americans’ growing use of electronic communications and commercial delivery services.

One way to save on that coming postal rate increase is to stock up now on Forever stamps.

On Monday, Princeton Post Master Shannon Mattingly said people can still buy Forever stamps at the 46 cent rate from the post office — but only until Jan. 26 when the new rate goes into effect. All Forever stamps, regardless of what year they were purchased, are still good to use at no additional cost. The Forever Global stamps, used for international mailing, can also still be used without any additional postage, she said.

During recent weeks, since the upcoming postal increase was announced, there’s been a huge increase in the number of people buying Forever stamps at the Princeton Post Office, Mattingly said. This can be a big savings for people who use a lot of stamps, she said.

Not only are Forever stamps a savings for the customer, but it’s also a savings for the postal service because those old stamps would have to be destroyed and then reprinted at the new rate, Mattingly said. Forever stamps are sold at the rate of the current first class stamp.

During her 18 years in the postal service, she’s seen a huge decrease in the volume of first class mail, Mattingly said. However, there’s been a recent skyrocketing in the parcel mail volume, at an amount she hasn’t seen since 2008-09, she said.

When asked for a possible reason for the parcel volume increase, Mattingly said people are maybe buying again, after the worst of the recession. Also, the postal service has an alliance with Fed Ex and UPS to make deliveries for those companies.

According to the U.S. Postal Service website, the U.S. Postal Service ended the 2013 fiscal year (Oct. 1, 2012 – Sept. 30, 2013) with a net loss of $5 billion, which marks the seventh consecutive year in which the postal service had a net loss. The U.S. Postal Service does not receive tax money but is expected to raise its own revenue to cover expenses.

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