Post office rate increases effective Jan. 8

Published 7:57 pm Wednesday, January 4, 2006

By By Adam Prestridge
Some additional change will be needed next Monday if you plan on mailing off a letter.
Atmore Post Office employees are quickly making the transition over to 39-cent stamps, which will be required on all first-class packages beginning Jan. 8.
"We just need to make sure that when customers deposit their mail that they have the extra two cents on their envelopes," Atmore postmaster Lester Cogollow said. "Our vending machines are operational and now have 39-cent stamps and some 37-cent stamps, which will be removed prior to Monday."
Lines formed all day Tuesday at the Atmore Post Office with customers either purchasing 39-cent stamps, 2-cent stamps to make up the difference or quickly mailing off their packages with 37-cent stamps on them.
"We've been busy all day," Cogollow said.
Even though no one likes to see rate increases, Cogollow said the additional two cents will definitely be beneficial to the United States Postal Service (USPS), which had to endure skyrocketing fuel prices last summer that are still elevated.
"It's something that's needed to be done," he said. "Our rate increases have to go before a board of governors, so we can't just raise our rates and fees. The gas prices over the past year have risen to twice the cost of a first-class stamp. It's still one of the best deals around for the services you receive."
International rates have also gone up. The slight increases are from 60 cents to 63 cents and from 80 cents to 84 cents per ounce. Packages mailed to a military base are considered domestic mail even if it's across seas so first-class rates apply.
Rates have also increased for bulk mailers. Cogollow said bulk customers will need to pick up new postage statements at the post office or download them off the USPS website at
As for your 37-cent stamps, they're can still be used so don't throw them away. Cogollow said 1-cent, 2-cent, 3-cent and 4-cent stamps will be available to make up the difference owed.
"Our last pick-up on Saturday is 4:30 p.m., so anything deposited after that time will need to have the new rate of 39 cents on it because it won't be picked up until Monday," Cogollow said.
For those letters that still have 37-cent stamps on them Monday, Cogollow said it depends on what will be done with them.
"The may be returned for additional postage or they may be sent on for postage due," he said. "It just depends on how many pieces are deposited. Some businesses don't accept postage due mail."
As for the transition, Cogollow doesn't foresee any major problems.
"I was here when we had the last rate change and we didn't have significant problems," he said.

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