Reporting Liz Collin
WAITE PARK, Minn. (WCCO) — The price of mailing a letter is going up again. Starting on Jan. 22, a first-class, 1-ounce letter will cost a penny more at 45 cents.
During the last fiscal year, the United States Post Office lost $8 billion. The penny increase won’t make up all of the difference. So, there’s also been talk of cutting Saturday delivery and closing more post offices to help balance the budget, including some in Minnesota.
A Waite Park processing plant is one of four Minnesota locations that may close. Nearly 150 people work there. It could consolidate with operations in Minneapolis.
Despite most doing business online nowadays, on closing time Tuesday there was a steady stream of people still dropping off their mail at the Waite Park mail center.
Vicki Senn was one of them.
“Invoicing, payroll, checks, making payments, everything,” Senn said.
The one cent price hike hasn’t come out of the blue; the Postal Service seems to be delivering a lot of bad news.
“It didn’t surprise me. You keep hearing about how the government wants to limit the number of days they deliver to actually one or two days,” another customer, Patrick Schleper said.
Pete Dingman picks up mail from nine rural post offices every day as a private contractor.
“Here, every town wants to keep a post office. That’s not going to work out because there’s not enough money for that,” Dingman said.
Dingman is confident he’ll keep his job, since the mail has to go somewhere. With a message from the Postal Service that is has to cut $20 billion in the next four years, he knows he’ll feel it much more than Tuesday’s one cent dent.
“All we can do is wait,” Dingman said.