By Marianela Toledo | Florida Watchdog
MIAMI — Officials and business owners in the Miami suburb City of Miami Lakes want to take advantage of restructuring of the cash-strapped U.S. Postal Service and get their own zip code.
“It’s a branding issue,” said Manny Cid, the city commissioner who’s pushing for the identify change. “We have a big branding initiative in our town. We’ve got a seal and now a logo, and having our own zip code will help us with those efforts.”
Their proposal was submitted last year, and was initially rejected by the USPS, the self-funded government agency whose drop in mail volume, below-market postal rates and unrealistic pension burden has caused it to run out of money and seek help from Congress to avoid unprecedented service cuts.
A restructuring of one of America’s oldest and most efficient institutions doesn’t necessarily translate into free zip codes for everyone. In an email sent to Florida Watchdog, Pembroke Pines Post Office spokeswoman Debbie Fetterly gave this reason for rejecting zip code change in some communities:
“Many communities throughout the nation have mail delivered from a Post Office with a different name than their community. It is too costly to establish a new Post Office or create new ZIP Codes for community identity purposes. ZIP Codes and mailing addresses are intended to help us provide prompt and accurate mail service.”
Fetterly also said USPS recognizes community identity is important to many customers and as a result, has developed a ZIP Code boundary review process, which will include Miami Lakes.
The zip code initiative for the town is also embraced by the Miami Lakes Chamber of Commerce.
“Yes, the Miami Lakes chamber is in favor. Having our own zip code will benefit us on many fronts, from attracting more businesses to the area, to helping existing business that are already here.” said Marta Diaz, executive director of the Miami Lakes chamber.
Cid said that having a zip code could lead to lower car insurance premiums because the risk would be calculated and spread over a smaller, more targeted area, rather than the more densely-populated neighboring Hialeah.
He also said a lot of mail is returned to sender because his city is not well identified.
“Our first attempt was not approved, but they did add Miami Lakes to the national registry for mail so now you can actually write Miami Lakes, where in the past, it would say Hialeah, etcetera,” Cid said.
The proposal is currently in the appeal process, and a survey will be sent to residents to get an idea of how much support it has.
Contact Marianela Toledo at Marianela.Toledo@FloridaWatchdog.org twitter @mtoledoreporter