In what it says is an attempt to sustain a high quality of service and cover the ever-increasing costs of doing business, the United States Postal Service has officially announced a postage rate hike effective July 1.
The price for a letter under one ounce will remain static at 34 cents, while the cost for each additional ounce will rise to 23 cents from the previous 21 cents.
The price of sending a postcard will climb to 21 cents a penny more than in 2000.
“We use a minimal number of postcards, so it won”t affect us,” said Audrey Ritt, the owner of the Local Mailboxes, Etc. in the Michigan Union.
USPS Chief Financial Officer Richard Strasser said in a statement the postal service faces a revenue loss between $1.6 billion and $2.4 billion this year alone. USPS has already cut spending and delayed the hiring of new workers for future projects, he added.
Last January”s rate hike failed to draw enough revenue, and to implement these new rates the postal board, facing opposition from the presidentially-nominated members the advisory Postal Rate Commission, a rare occurrence that hasn”t happened since 1981.
“July”s rate hike is simply testing the price elasticity of postage rates while trying to tackle the deficit,” said Washtenaw County Postmaster Timothy Inman. “I don”t think mail volume will be affected by the price increase, except for bulk mailing organizations and newspapers that ship out of state.”
Inman added that Ann Arbor”s economy is strong and will have no difficulty standing up to such a rate increase.
Students do not seem to show a great deal of emotion or criticism on the issue.
“No one ever uses the mail anyway,” said LSA junior Megan Veresh. “E-mail is much easier and faster.”
Several students gave the impression that they believe e-mail is the predominant source of communication and “snail mail” mail sent via USPS is only necessary for packages.
With the advent of technology, they said, e-mail attachments eliminate the need for sending documents, articles or any other paper-oriented form of communication.
Campus Mail, a free service offered within the University, is also a substantial option for students wishing to keep their mail within campus boundaries.
“Cost of mailing will increase, but we can always rely on Campus Mail,” said LSA junior Amber Simco.
USPS officials and the Postal Board of Governors are already discussing filings for another rate hike estimated for next year.