Stamp price increase won't change Augusta mail processing center's fate

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The price of stamps increased to 45 cents Sunday, but this won’t affect plans to close the Augusta mail processing center at the city’s main post office branch.

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Sandra Burke, of North Augusta, applies one-cent stamps at the downtown Augusta post office. The increase to 45 cents for first-class stamps is to cover the rising cost of business, a U.S. Postal Service spokesman said.  EMILY ROSE BENNETT/STAFF
Sandra Burke, of North Augusta, applies one-cent stamps at the downtown Augusta post office. The increase to 45 cents for first-class stamps is to cover the rising cost of business, a U.S. Postal Service spokesman said.

The increase will accommodate for the rising cost of business, said Stephen Seewoester, the U.S. Postal Service spokesman for Augusta, Macon and south Georgia.

“Things have gone up. We use a lot of gasoline. Expenses have gone up, so this is a routine rate increase that we do from time to time,” Seewoester said. “We can raise the price of stamps based on the Consumer Price Index. Packages are market-based, based on what competitors are charging.”

Consumers will also pay more for other Postal Service mailing and shipping services. However, customers who purchased Forever Stamps before the increase can use them without needing additional postage, Seewoester said.

Sandra Burke, an employee at Colon & Rectal Surgery Associates PC, said her office forgot about the price change.

“We stamped all of our mail yesterday, sent it out and it came right back to us needing more stamps,” she said.

The office had mailed out 71 envelopes with metered postage of 44 cents on Monday. Burke bought several books of 1-cent stamps Tuesday at Augusta’s main post office on Eighth Street to make up the difference in postage.

Ashley Gray, of Aiken, also unaware of the price change, visited the downtown post office on Tuesday to purchase a book of Forever Stamps.

Gray said she frequently uses the Postal Service to send bills, cards and even letters. She doesn’t mind the increase in price.

“It’s fine. It doesn’t bother me,” Gray said.

Still, the increase is not enough to eliminate the massive cuts planned by the Postal Service. The cash-strapped service announced plans in 2011 to make cuts to first-class mail this spring, eliminating the chance for stamped letters to arrive the next day.

In addition, the agency has plans to close about half of its nearly 500 mail processing centers across the country, including the Augusta mail processing center. The Postal Service also plans to close about 3,700 local post offices, putting roughly 100,000 employees out of work.

The closing date of the mail processing centers and post offices has been delayed.

“We have a moratorium on it right now that we wouldn’t make any changes until May 15,” Seewoester said.


Effective Jan. 22, the U.S. Postal Service increased the cost of mailing and shipping services.

Mailing ServiceNew PriceAmount of increase
First Class Mail45 cents1 cent
Single Price Letter (additional ounce for First Class Letter)20 cents0 cents
Post Cards32 cents3 cents
Letters to Canada or Mexico85 cents5 cents
Letters to other international destinations$1.057 cents

Shipping Services:

The U.S. Postal Service has debuted the Express Mail flat rate box, which is $39.95 for domestic mail.

Other shipping price increases include:

Priority Mail

Small box$5.35
Medium box$11.35
Large box$15.45

Priority envelope (regular): $5.15

Priority envelope (legal and padded): $5.30

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Chillen 01/24/12 - 02:31 pm
I just love a monopoly that

I just love a monopoly that raises rates whenever they need more money.

omnomnom 01/24/12 - 06:53 pm
then you'll

then you'll looooooooooooooove GA power Chillen!

seenitB4 01/25/12 - 08:28 am
They do a good job......I

They do a good job......I just wish I had bought even more forever stamps...

crkgrdn 01/25/12 - 11:59 am
I have several books of

I have several books of "forever" stamps. I am good to go. The article reminded me to stop by the P.O. for a few more boxes. I am getting low on those.

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