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Postal prices going up Monday

"Tack a penny onto that envelope.The cost of sending a first-class letter within the United States is going up one cent starting Monday, to 34 cents.The Governors of the U.S. Postal Service made the decision last month, and said the move is necessary to help cover the increased costs of doing business, from rising fuel prices to higher utility fees.“Our costs go up just like they do for everyone else,” Oak Harbor Postmaster Michael Harvey pointed out.In fact, with revenues of $64.5 billion for fiscal year 2000, the Postal Service still posted a $199 million loss. Postal Service Board Chairman Einar V. Dyhrkopp said a penny increase in the cost of sending a letter will help make up that difference, but isn’t any long-term solution for the Postal Service’s ongoing effort to operate in the black.“Reform of the nation’s postal system is necessary to provide the foundation for a financially secure Postal Service, one that is capable of meeting the needs of the American people today and far into the future,” Dyhrkopp said.Postal reform probably isn’t top priority for Whidbey Island postal patrons, who just want to get their mail to its destination. Toward that end, the Oak Harbor and Coupeville post offices are selling sheets of 1 cent stamps to combine with those soon-to-be obsolete 33 centers. Also, 34 cent letter rate stamps are currently on sale.Other postal rates will increase Monday as well. Mailing a two pound priority package will cost $3.95. A half pound express mail package will cost $12.25.Some fees will stay the same. A post card will still cost 20 cents, for example.Harvey noted that customers don’t have to wait in line to get stamps. The lobby of the Oak Harbor Post Office features a stamp vending machine, and people can also buy stamps at the Internet site www.stamps.com or by phone at (800) 782-6724.If you happen to drop a letter with a 33 cent stamp in the mailbox on Monday and realize your mistake too late, don’t despair. Harvey said the Postal Service will let a few slip through for a day or two. But those same letters will be returned to sender by midweek.-----------------Postage abroadSending a letter within the United States will cost 34 cents starting Monday. Here’s what it costs to send a letter in some other countries around the world. (Costs are converted into U.S. currency based on current exchange rates.)Argentina: 75 centsCanada: 31 centsFrance: 43 centsGermany: 53 centsGreat Britain: 30 centsIreland: 36 centsItaly: 39 cents "

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