The U.S. Postal Service will increase the cost of first class one ounce letter mail from .39 cents to .41 cents beginning May 14.

This rate increase will affect all classes of mail from letters to parcels. Flat mail pieces (8½ inches by 11 inches, brown envelopes or larger) will increase by 54 percent at the one ounce rate. Mail requiring extra services, such as certified mail, will increase by 10 percent in addition to the cost of postage; registered mail increases by 20 percent plus postage, add the domestic return receipt with the 16 percent increase and this becomes a very costly mailing. Priority mail, both envelope and box, will increase by 14 percent, and the cost of Express mail is to increase by 13 percent.

Some of these increases may not seem too bad if you look at them one at a time. But consider the volume and type of mail produced by your organization - now think installation wide. Fort Lee produces a large amount of “Official Business” mail on a yearly basis at a substantial cost to our budget.

When preparing official mail for your organization ensure all items being mailed pertain exclusively to the business of the U.S. government. Consolidate mailings to a common address whenever possible. Eliminate the use of extra service mailings; certified and registered mail with the domestic return receipt should be used only when Department of Defense or federal regulations direct their usage.

Express mail service will be used only in accordance with DoD regulations and is not available to all locations. Express mail is not used prior to holidays or on a Friday. To request this service a memorandum stating the reason for using Express mail and signed by your commander or director must accompany the mail piece. For the authorized uses of Express mail contact the Fort Lee Mail Management Office.

Avoid the use of padded envelopes. One of these weighing just four ounces would cost $1.31 to mail if it was empty. The weight of your mailings can be reduced by printing on both sides of the paper and mailing a single copy, additional copies can be reproduced by the recipient as needed.

When preparing correspondence use the smallest envelope or container possible. For correspondence of six pages or less use a standard size business envelope. Flats should be used only when the contents cannot be folded such as certificates or efficiency reports. The use of other media (facsimile, email, teleconference) can be used to reduce the cost of our official mail.

By working together we can hold down the cost of Fort Lee’s “Official Business” mail and use the savings for other needed installation projects.