To the editor:

I wanted your readers to know that, contrary to your recent editorial about the Postal Service rate change, the Postal Service is not closing small post offices as part of the plan.None of us like price increases - for anything. But here are a few points that may help put the postage rate change in perspective.

The Postal Service receives no tax dollars, and we charge users of the mail what it costs for us to provide the service.

When our costs go up, we have to charge more for service just like any other business. Every time gasoline, for example, goes up one penny, our costs go up $3.3 million dollars annually.

In 1971, a first-class stamp cost 8 cents. However, 25 percent of postal costs were subsidized by tax dollars. Over the past 20 years, the price of a stamp has remained just about even with the rate of inflation in the general economy. That's true even though the number of addresses we serve has increased by more than 50 percent, the amount of mail has doubled and we no longer get tax dollars.

We have one of the lowest postage rates of any industrialized nation. Germany and Japan, both often touted for their efficiency, charge 67.2 cents and 46.6 cents in U.S. dollars, respectively, and both deliver to much smaller areas.

With the increased use of high-tech sorting machines, we plan to keep future costs below the rate of inflation. Businesses and individuals can help keep the cost of a stamp stable by preparing mail so that it's more easily sorted by our equipment. Doing so would preferably include machine printing addresses with dark ink on a light envelope and using easy-to-read type styles (not italic or script) that don't overlap.

Kenneth R. Prentiss

general manager/postmaster

Salt Lake Division