It had to be done

EDITORAL

First of all, let’s say this: We didn’t want to but we had to.

Rates changed for The Blount Countian this week for the first time in seven years and only the second time in more than 20 years.

We are in a difficult position here but it’s one we knew of going in and one that we accept. The difficulty sometimes comes in running The Blount Countian as a newspaper with an eye on the journalistic side while also remembering that we are a business. Just like any other business – restaurant, shoe store, car dealership, etc. – we have a bottom line.

And like most businesses, some of our overhead costs are out of our hands. Gas prices alone are more than enough to justify an increase. In 2005, the cost of a gallon of gas was about $1.90. Today, those prices have almost doubled to around $3.70 per gallon.

That’s more money that every business has to pay. With us, that means the cost of delivering the newspaper has risen sharply but it also means that it costs more for us to gather the news.

Postal rates are another expense that we cannot control. The U.S. Postal Service is facing record losses despite an increase in rates of about 2 percent per year. Those rate changes vary for periodicals (newspapers, magazines, etc.) but the increase has been significant for all newspapers and small local weeklies have probably been affected the most.

Other expenses, those every business faces – utilities, insurance, etc. – have increased, as well.

As our rates have gone up, we will work hard to maintain the quality of our paper. From a news standpoint, the last couple of years have been very busy and we are proud of what we have been able to offer our readers. We will continue to do the very best for you. –rr