by Jake Bross
GRAND LEDGE, MI–Rich Marzke is no stranger to the frequent increases to the United States Postal Service’s rates.
Having gone to the 233-year-old institution for years, the Grand Ledge resident is surprised by the recent postal price hikes.
“It seems like it happens all the time,” said Marzke, staring blankly at Grand Ledge’s post office on East Jefferson Street. “It won’t change anytime soon.”
The rise in rates hit Sunday, Jan. 27. This includes postcard postage rising one cent to $0.33, one-ounce letters to international destinations to $1.10 and one-ounce letters sent with a first-class stamp up to $0.46.
“We raise rates over the years,” said Sabrina Todd, media relations director for the United States Postal Service for the Greater Michigan District. “It’s nothing new.”
The last substantial rise occurred in 2009, with similar reasons to this year’s change.
“We raise our rates as a means of keeping up with the competitive prices as far as postage and delivery services in general,” said Todd.
Todd explained that Grand Ledge and other Michigan towns would not see the prices exceed the Consumer Price Index, which is the change in price level of goods bought by households.
The prices for shipping services rose as much as six cents. Priority Mail, which delivers in about 2 days, increased up to $0.15 more than the past price and Express Mail, delivering overnight, followed with a rise of $0.25.
“People have come to expect it,” said Todd. “And with this particular price increase, all Forever Stamps bought before the change are still useable.”
Forever Stamps can be used for first-class postage no matter the postal rate.
There has been a 25 percent decline in first-class mail since 2006, according to an article by MLive.com. This has led to United State’s Postal Sevice’s “dire financial straits” occurring that same year.
In the wake of the financial strain, “layoffs, budget cuts and facility consolidations” have poured over the institution all across Michigan and the US.
On Feb. 6, the United States Postal service plans to bring out more cuts come summer.
In August, the postal service is slated to end Saturday mail delivery. Post offices though will remain open and packages will still be delivered. This change has been widely supported by the Obama administration, reported The Federal Times.
Grand Ledge resident Rene Wilson is skeptical. She only uses snail-mail when completely necessary and relies more on telephone and email for communication. The rise in postal rates does not take her by surprise.
With a laugh, Wilson said, “Those prices are going up just like anything else.”