The price for First-Class Mail single-piece letters will increase by just a penny when prices change in January next year.
For the second year-in-a-row, the cost of mailing a letter first class will increase modestly — this time up to 46 cents for a letter. The Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) will review the prices before they become effective on Jan. 27, 2013.
New 46 cent "Forever" stamps will allow customers to mail letters to any location in the United States. Forever stamps are always good for mailing a one-ounce letter anytime in the future regardless of price changes.
Other mail rates are rising as well.
Postcard stamps will also increase one penny, up to 33 cents.
International mail will see the biggest hike: It will now cost $1.10 to send letters abroad, up from $1.05 cents.
USPS also announced several new shipping services will be available in January, including free tracking for Standard Post (formerly "Parcel Post") and Priority Mail. Also new, customers shipping Critical Mail letters and flats will now have the option of receiving a signature upon delivery as part of the service offering.
A large variety of flat-rate boxes and envelopes for Express Mail and Priority Mail, including the padded and legal-sized flat rate envelopes will continue to be offered by the Postal Service.
The price increase comes in the midst of significant financial troubles for the U.S. Postal Service as the volume of mail decreases.
The Postal Service has twice defaulted on a scheduled retiree health benefits prefunding payments to the U.S. Treasury on Aug. 1 and Sept. 30. It ended the third quarter with a net loss to $11.6 billion, and it delivered 1.4 billion fewer pieces of mail in the third quarter of 2012 than in 2011.
“We urgently need the legislative changes noted above to restore our short-term liquidity and provide a stable base for the future," said Acting Chief Financial Officer Stephen Masse. "In the meantime, we will prioritize our cash resources to ensure that we deliver on our mission.”
Mercer Island currently maintains two USPS locations on Mercer Island, including its main post office in the Town Center and a contract branch in the South End Rite Aid.