|Patrons fill the Price post office on Monday, the busiest mailing day of the year, to send final holiday packages.|
Procrastinating Carbon County residents cannot put off sending out of state Christmas packages any longer.
The United States Postal Service reports that today, Dec. 21, is the final day priority mail can be assured delivery to out of Utah recipients before Christmas.
Express out of country packages should have been sent yesterday.
According to the USPS, Monday was the busiest mailing day of the year, with many families sending off final Christmas shipments for the 2004 holiday.
Meanwhile, Thursday is projected to be the heaviest mail delivery day of 2004.
Nationwide, an estimated 280 million postmarked cards and letters were handled by the USPS on Monday.
Locally, about two to three times the regular amount of mail was handled by the Price, Helper and Wellington post offices, according to USPS.
When shipping packages, USPS recommends that local residents consider the following addressing and packaging tips:
Write, type or print complete address and return address.
If the zip is unknown, Carbon County residents should never guess.
Zip codes may be looked up online at www.usps.com with the zip code locater.
When flying, do not transport wrapped gifts in carry on luggage.
Instead, mail the gifts in advance of boarding the plane.
Use a sturdy box to protect contents and cushion the contents.
Be careful using previously mailed boxes.
Old addresses and barcodes cause confusion and should be marked through completely.
Remove batteries from toys. Wrap and place separately.
When packaging powders, make sure they are in padded, sift-proof envelopes.
If mailing framed pictures, disassemble and wrap the frame and glass separately.
Enclose a card listing the contents along with the sender and recipient's address.
In addition to the USPC, there are several alternative shipping options, including FedEx, UPS and DHL.
However, only the United States Postal Service has the legal authority to deliver first and third class mail, as authorized by Title 39 of the U.S. Code.
"It is generally unlawful under the Private Express Statutes for any person other than the postal service in any manner to send or carry a letter on a post route or in any manner to cause or assist such activity. Violation may result in injunction, fine or imprisonment or both and payment of postage lost as a result of the illegal activity," states Title 39 of the U.S. Code.
The exclusivity of the USPS' rights to deliver first and third class mail has been questioned by many postal reform organizations, especially amidst discussion that postal rates will increase in 2005.
But, according to the Postal Rate Commission, no such request has yet been submitted by the Postal Service.
"The Postal Rate Commission (PRC) recognizes the growing speculation regarding the likelihood of a postal rate increase," stated a recent press release by the commission. "In addressing these concerns it is important to know that the Postal Rate Commission does not initiate postal rate increases."
The process for implementing a postage rate increase formally begins when the USPS Board of Governors submits a request to the Postal Rate Commission detailing the proposed changes in rates along with the rationale needed to support such an increase, the commission indicated.
The commission pointed out that it is presently anticipated that the Postal Service may propose a postage rate increase sometime in 2005. But, once the request for a rate increase is received, the PRC said it evaluates the request and holds hearings as needed. As part of its official review, the commission indicates that it will welcome public comments during the course of the rate case proceeding.
"Postal rate proceedings typically require nearly ten-months to conclude," commented the commission. "Upon completion of its consideration, the Postal Rate Commission will recommend a rate structure to the Postal Service Board of Governors for adoption and implementation."
The Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers, a national coalition of nonprofit organizations that use the mails to raise funds, solicit members and disseminate information, asserts that the increases could be 15 percent or more of the current postal rate.