Lawtonians respond to postal rate hike

Lawton_Starting Monday, it costs a little bit more to mail your cards and letters.  A first-class stamp has gone up 2 cents to a total of 41 cents.  But there is also some good news -- folks will be able to buy "Forever" stamps.

These are stamps that remain valid regardless of any increase.

Lawton Postmaster Stephen Carroll says these stamps don't have prices printed on them because their value for sending a letter won't change even when postage rates do.

"It's a good thing, if you want to buy some, hang onto them, give them to your kids, grandkids, they can come in fifty years from now, and just mail for 41 cents for the first ounce," Carroll said.

But, those aren't the only stamps people were buying.  "We've been pretty busy today, people buying the 41-cent stamp and also buying the 2-cent stamp to put on there with the 39 to make up the difference.  It's been a pretty busy morning and I imagine it'll be pretty busy all week long," Carroll said.

Carroll says the increase is due to the rising cost of fuel and the space packages and letters take up.  But the rate increase is changing the way some people do business, including the Southwest Oklahoma Blood Institute.  Regional recruitment manager Cindy Caballero says they mail out about 1,000 postcards a month and this isn't a good change.

"As a not-for-profit organization, this is something that is going to hurt our business," Caballero said.

Their budget is very limited for postage and the increase in letter sized postage is hitting hard.

"We have tried email - that's something we're starting to get into but it's a challenge, but we will have to find different ways to reach our donors."

Postage rates last went up in January 2006. International postage is also up.  Letters to Canada and Mexico will rise to 69 cents and to most other countries to 90 cents.

The first Forever Stamps are selling for 41 cents apiece right now.  But that doesn't mean their price won't go up.

They will always be sold at the current postage rate.  So, if rates were to increase to 45 cents, for example, and your supply has run out, you'll have to buy the new Forever stamps for 45 cents each.