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Postal Service considering another stamp price hike

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Postal Service considering another stamp price hike
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Proof that our economy isn't improving could lie in the actions of the postal service. Come January, mailers will have to pony up a few more pennies for stamps. YNN's Joleene Des Rosiers has more on where the postal service is headed.

UNITED STATES -- After 44 years of service with the United States Postal Service, Mary 'Suzie' Goleski is retiring. She's been the postmaster in Warners for 27 years. And in that time, she's seen a lot of changes.

"Years ago we used to sort mail by hand. Now, 99 percent of it is done by a machine," she said.

And that's just the beginning. She's also seen some serious changes with the workforce and a continual upswing of postal rates. And once again, the Postal Service is seriously considering a hike in postal rates. Stamps would increase from 44 cents to 46 cents. And there could be a five percent boost in postage for magazines, catalogs and bulk mail.

"People are always concerned about stamp increases and were up front and as soon as we know, we pass it on," said Goleski.

But will passing the info on cause a shift in the way some do business? Patrick Penfield, professor at Syracuse University's Whitman School of Management, thinks so.

"The issue the post office has is if they keep raising stamp prices, people are gonna move away from mailing those letters and those bills and they'll go down the electronic path," Penfield said.

The post office does have the authority to boost prices but the increase can't exceed the inflation rate in the previous 12 months, thanks to the 2006 Postal Reform Law, a law that states an increase can happen if economic waters are rough.

"We are allowed to put together a rate case and say, during extreme economic times if we can justify it," said U.S. Postal Service District Manager Edward Phelan. "And that's probably what were gonna be looking at. The justification. Just like the other similar companies that deliver, whether it's parcels or packages. We're gonna look to a rate case that will be given to the board of governors soon and then to the regulatory commission. And they'll make a decision. And we're probably looking at January implementation if that does take place."

Phelan says the postal service has to look ahead and ask themselves where are we gonig to be in five years? And he notes that many folks don't have what so many of us take for granted. And that's the world wide web.

"There's still huge portion of people in the country that don't have computers, that can't rely on the internet. So we'll still have a niche, just a different niche."

Penfield adds, "It's a generational gap, no doubt. I think what you'll see is people still using the post office. But what's going to occur is eventually it's going to start to phase away once the different generations start to come into place."

As for Suzie, it's a change she's only begun to see. After 44 years with the postal service, she's retiring. With a smile.

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