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Postal rate hike takes effect Sunday

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WORTHINGTON -- A two-cent increase in the price of a first-class postage stamp goes into effect Sunday, marking the second increase by the U.S. postal service in three years.

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Until the new 39-cent stamps roll off the presses, postal patrons can purchase stamps that feature Lady Liberty with a waving U.S. flag in the background. Unlike the single-letter "H" stamp used in the previous rate hike, the new stamp was not assigned a letter, according to Worthington Postmaster Howard Kor.

"They don't put a price on (the first stamp) because they don't yet know what the price will be when they begin printing them," Kor said. He added that collector stamps and the standard 39-cent flag stamp should be available soon.

As the price of a first-class stamp rises from 37 cents to 39 cents, Kor said Sunday marks a 5.4 percent increase, across the board, for most stamps and services available at the post office. The increase is fueled by higher gas prices to run mail delivery vehicles and rising salaries for postal employees.

"The post office works on a break-even point," Kor said. "It is not subsidized by the government, so we have to (operate) on whatever we make on postage prices.

"With the price of gas going up, it costs us millions of dollars a day just on gas," he added.

While the U.S. postal service's financial records went from being in the red to the black this past year, Kor said there was such a deficit to make up for that the postal increase was necessary.

"We're in the black now, and that's why they only raised it two cents," he added.

Items mailed on Sunday and thereafter that do not include the proper postage will be sent, in most cases, to the recipient with postage due, Kor said. If someone has sent a bundle of mail with incorrect postage, he said they would work to return those items to the sender.

The last postal rate hike was from 34 cents to 37 cents, which went into effect June 30, 2002.

On the Web:

www.usps.com

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Julie Buntjer
Julie Buntjer joined the Daily Globe newsroom in December 2003, after working more than nine years for weekly newspapers. A native of Worthington and graduate of Worthington High School, then-Worthington Community College and South Dakota State University, she has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism. At the Daily Globe, Julie covers the agricultural beat, as well as Nobles County government, watersheds, community news and feature stories. In her spare time, she enjoys needlework (cross-stitch and hardanger embroidery), reading, travel, fishing and spending time with family. Find more of her stories of farm life, family and various other tidbits at www.farmbleat.areavoices.com.
(507) 376-7330
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