Local post office ready for postage hike
Mailing a letter will soon cost a penny more.
The cost of a first-class stamp will rise to 42 cents starting May 12, the U.S. Postal Service said Monday.
Earl Wilcher, Postmaster at the Russellville Post office said he is advising local customers to use all their 41-cent stamps while they can and then purchase books of the Forever Stamps before the price increase next month.
"You'll actually save money with the Forever stamps because you'll pay 41 cents a piece for them but on March 13, they'll be worth 42-cents," he said. "You'll actually make a penny."
The price of the Forever stamp will go up at the same time, meaning those stamps can still be purchased for 41 cents but will remain good for first-class postage after the rate increase takes effect.
The post office has sold 5 billion Forever stamps since they were introduced last April and plans to have an additional 5 billion in stock to meet the expected demand before the May price change, the agency said.
"Forever stamps are great because they'll be worth whatever the current postage rate is regardless of when you purchased them," Wilcher said.
The charge for other services, such as advertising mail, periodicals, packages special services will also change. Changes in the price for Priority Mail and Express Mail will be announced later, the agency said.
Postage rates last went up in May 2007, with a first-class stamp jumping 2 cents to the current 41-cent rate.
For those who elect not to purchase Forever stamps in lieu of the 1-cent stamp, Wilcher said you needed to act quickly.
"We've got plenty on hand right now but 1-cent stamps get popular as the change day gets closer," he said. "They always do."
In the past raising postage rates was a long, complex process involving hearings before the independent Postal Regulatory Commission, a process that could take nearly a year.
However, under the new law regulating the post office that took effect in late 2006, the agency is allowed to increase rates with 45-days notice as long as changes are within the rate of inflation for the previous 12 months.
The Postal Regulatory Commission calculated that rate at 2.9 percent through January, limiting the first-class rate to an increase of just over a penny.
Under the new law, postal prices will be adjusted annually each May, the Postal Service said.
Officials said they plan to give 90 days notice of future changes, twice what is required by law.
While the charge for the first ounce of a first-class letter rises to 42 cents, the price of each added ounce will remain 17 cents, so a two-ounce letter will go up a penny to 59 cents.
The cost to mail a post card will also go up a penny, to 27 cents.
Other increases set for May 12: