BY PHIL HARTMAN
If you've been putting off a trip to the post office, today might be the day to get moving: The new, higher postal rates take effect Monday.
The cost of a first-class stamp for an 1-ounce letter is rising from 39 cents to 41 cents, while postcards are increasing from 24 cents to 26 cents. Among the other rate changes are:
n One-pound priority mail, from $4.05 to $4.60.
n One-half pound express mail or flat-rate express mail, from $14.40 to $16.25.
n Two-pound express mail, from $18.80 to $21.40.
n Certified mail, from $2.40 to $2.65.
n Money orders, from .95 to $1.05 for orders up to $500.
A new $19.50 rate one-half to one-pound express mail also has been established, said Tim Ratliff, a Postal Service spokesman.
"We're responding to what people need, to common weights that people are sending," Ratliff said.
Customers also can buy the 41-cent "forever" stamps, so named because the stamps are guaranteed to be good for mailing one-ounce first-class letters any time in the future, regardless of future potential price changes.
Employees at the Dixon post office have been selling quite a few of the forever stamps, postmaster Marilyn Daggert said.
"We also are going through a lot of the two-cent stamps. I sent out a direct mailing with a card with a summary of what's happening. We sent those last week. It was talking about the forever stamp," Daggert said.
Postal customers in Sterling have been buying a lot of 41-cent stamps ahead of time, said Al Lopez, a supervisor at the office.
"They're buying very few 39-cent stamps, and very few 2-cent stamps. We've got plenty of the two-cent stamps on hand," Lopez said.