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Stamp prices set to go up 3 cents

1/24/2014

By MIKE CORN

mcorn@dailynews.net

Stamp prices will skyrocket Sunday when prices increase 3 cents to 49 cents for a forever stamp.

Currently, the price to mail a first-class letter is 46 cents.

The increase comes just as the U.S. Postal Service is set to conduct another in a series of community meetings to discuss reducing window hours at rural post offices.

That meeting will be at 1 p.m. Tuesday in the United Methodist Fellowship Hall in Bogue.

The stamp price hike on Sunday represents a 7 percent increase, a boost that is designed to shore up a flagging financial situation, most of which stems from a congressional mandate requiring the quasi-governmental agency to pre-fund the federal employee retirement program for its workers.

Annual contributions to that fund amount to $5.6 billion. USPS again defaulted on the payment requirement, and reported a net loss of approximately $5 billion for fiscal year 2013.

Amid the faltering revenues, USPS has instituted several cost-saving measures including the reduction of window hours at thousands of rural post offices across the nation.

Hours have already been cut at dozens of post offices in Kansas, initially targeting those without a full-time postmaster.

But the postal service has said it will complete the schedule of reducing hours at remaining offices by the end of this year, which gave career postmasters two years to take retirement or move to another facility.

In addition to Bogue, other northwest Kansas post offices that will see reduction this year are: Bazine, Bird City, Bison, Brewster, Catharine, Downs, Kirwin, Logan, Long Island, Norcatur, Otis, Palco, Paradise, Portis, Prairie View, Rexford, Rush Center, Utica and Wilson.

Post offices already seeing reduced window hours are: Agra, Alexander, Almena, Alton, Brownell, Bunker Hill, Cedar, Collyer, Damar, Dorrance, Downs, Edson, Gaylord, Gorham, Gove, Grainfield, Grinnell, Healy, Herndon, Jennings, Kanorado, Lenora, Lucas, Luray, McCracken, McDonald, Morland, Natoma, Ransom, Sleden, Sylvan Grove, Utica, Waldo, Weskan, Winona and Woodston.