By Tim Leeds
The cost of mailing letters and packages through the U.S. Postal Service will go up slightly effective Sunday, Jan. 7.
Havre Postmaster Richard O'Leary said they already have a couple of different versions of the new 34 cent stamps in stock, as well as a supply of 1 cent stamps to be used with the old 33 cent stamps. The stamps are available in 1 cent stamps with a Kestrel, a small falcon, on them, or in Statue of Liberty, U.S. Flag or flower stamps for the 34 cent variety.
"We've got 'em," he said.
A Postal Service release urges customers to avoid any last minute rush for the new stamps and buy them now.
O'leary said that, just as with any business, the increase had to be made to offset rising expenses, such as fuel and labor costs. He said there was not full agreement about the increase, with the Postal Service Board of Governors asking for a 6 percent across-the-board increase, but they only received 4.6 percent.
The Postal Service is funded almost completely through postage and fees. The service does not receive any support through taxes. First Class postal rates in some other countries range from 43 U.S. cents in Great Britain to 60 cents in Germany and Switzerland and 75 cents in Japan.
The cost of each additional ounce for First Class postage will drop from 22 to 21 cents, and the charge for First Class postcards will remain 20 cents. The charge for domestic and APO/IPO money orders will drop, from 80 cents to 75 cents and from 30 cents to 25 cents, respectively. The charge for international money orders will rise from $3 to $3.25.
Other services, such as international postcards and airmail, Priority and Express Mail, Certified Mail, Insured Mail, return receipt and delivery confirmation will also have rate increases.
The last time postal rates were increased was in January 1999, when they rose from 32 cents to 33 cents for First Class. The last raise before than was seven years ago.