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Postage rates change Sunday

The postage rate changes Sunday for residents all across Americawhen the first-class mail rate goes from 33 to 34 cents for lettersweighing one ounce or less.

Despite the slight increase, local residents seemed to haveaccepted the changes without much griping, according to postalofficials.

“We haven’t heard a lot of negative about it,” said JamesPapisan, the Silver Creek Postmaster who is serving as officer incharge while Brookhaven Postmaster Gary Black serves in Vicksburgfor 90 days.

The main concern expressed by residents here was about when thechange would take place, added Papisan.

“We’ve had a good many people asking about it, and a lot ofpeople thought it started on Jan. 1,” he said.

The changes, though, will not take affect until Sunday, which isthe only day of the week mail does not run, so residents will notsee the changes until Monday.

“What we’ll do after we close down Saturday is update everythingand be ready to roll Monday,” Papisan explained.

Stamp machines, located in the lobbies of both Brookhaven postoffices, have already been equipped with one-cent stamps for thosewho still have some 33-cent stamps to use.

“We’ve got tons of self-adhesive one-cent stamps they can usewith them after Sunday,” said Papisan, explaining how the extrapostage stamp should simply be placed beside the 33-cent stamp onany envelope.

Postal officials across the nation expected a surge in mail thisweek from residents trying to beat the rate hike and get rid oftheir “old” stamps. Officials here have not noticed a change in theamount of mail being sent or received.

Post offices have already been stocked with the new first-classstamps, but the stamps do not have the monetary amount printed onthem yet. Instead, the phrase “USA first-class” is printed on thelower portion of the stamps. The new stamps have also been on salefor quite some time, said Papisan.

“We’ve already sold quite a bit of 34-cent stamps,” he added.”We’ve got plenty of 34-cent stamps, and we’re expecting to getsome more in soon.”

While the change of first-class mail rates from 33 cents to 34cents has been widely publicized, other changes are also on thehorizon.

The rate for the additional ounce on first-class mail couldslightly offset the one-cent increase on the first ounce, becauseit will change from 22 cents to 21 cents.

“So actually if you mail a 3 ounce letter after Sunday it willbe cheaper,” explained Papisan.

Changes in priority mail rates include going from $3.20 forpackages up to one pound to $3.50, rather than $3.20 for items upto two pounds. A flat rate of $3.95 will now be in place for itemsweighing between one and two pounds.

Express mail for packages up to a half pound will go up from$11.75 to $12.25. Certified mail will also increase 50 cents, from$1.40-$1.90.

Money orders and return receipts will see only a slight change.Money orders decreasing from 80 cents to 75 cents, and returnreceipts increase from $1.25 to $1.50.

Some Brookhaven residents can be thankful for one major decreasein postal charges, though.

“The post office box rents went down here, so that’s good,” saidPapisan. “Some places, like larger cities, went up a lot.”

Postal employees have been giving customers flyers to help themkeep up with the many types of changes. Hand-outs displaying allthe changes can be obtained at post office windows.