32 stamp won't stop delivery; Postal Service will accept letters mailed yesterday


Don't fret. That letter you dropped into the mailbox over the weekend will reach its destination -- even if you forgot that those penned thoughts cost an extra penny to send.

The U.S. Postal Service will exercise "common sense," a spokeswoman said yesterday, and deliver items collected from untended mailboxes over the weekend.

Even some items mailed as late as yesterday will not require the extra penny postage because officials will be unable to determine when they were dropped into the mailbox.

Postal rates increased yesterday for the first time in four years, raising the cost of the basic first-class letter by one penny -- to 33 cents.

But the weekend window through which some 32-centers will slip will be closed by Tuesday, said Helen Skillman, spokeswoman for the Baltimore district of the U.S. Postal Service. Then mail without proper postage will be returned to sender unless the recipient agrees to foot the extra penny.

Despite four straight profitable years, the post office said it needs added cash to buy equipment, cover rising costs and reduce outstanding debt. Originally, the rate increase had been expected to take effect last summer, but it was postponed at the urging of the Postal Rate Commission and Congress.

The rates cover most types of mail.

In other price changes, a priority mail package will rise from $3 to $3.20; sending a local newspaper will cost 15.7 cents, up from 14.5 cents; the price to mail a national magazine will rise from 27.1 cents to 29.1 cents; and a basic parcel post package that cost $2.42 to send will rise to $2.74.

The increase does not affect international mail.

Pub Date: 1/11/99

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