Miami Lakes Mayor advocates for ZIP Code in D.C.
“We are Miami Lakes,” said Mayor Manny Cid. The subtext: We are not Hialeah.
Politically, the distinction is clear. The two Miami-Dade municipalities have different governments, charters and ordinances. But according to the U.S. Postal Service ZIP Code, the cities are one and the same. When residents of Miami Lakes get their mail, the ZIP Code is one of three attributed to Hialeah — 33014, 33016 or 33018.
Now, a bill being considered by a U.S. Senate committee may finally get Miami Lakes residents what they’ve wanted since the town was incorporated in 2000 — their own postal identity and a hard line between their town and Hialeah.
“Really, it’s a branding issue,” Cid said. “We work hard to brand ourselves as one of the best places to live in South Florida. ... But when you get your mail you don’t see that.”
There are also practical reasons for wanting a unique ZIP Code. A ZIP Code is just a number used by the U.S. Postal Service to sort mail, but it is often used as a grouping mechanism by other agencies and businesses like the U.S. Census or insurance actuaries. As it is now, Miami Lakes residents pay the same, very high, auto insurance rates as Hialeah residents. Sometimes residents are even confused about where to vote, or which government represents them, Cid told the Herald.
For years, residents of Miami Lakes have been pushing for their own ZIP Code. The U.S. Postal Service declined the request, calling it cost prohibitive. A 2016 bill sponsored by U.S. Sen. (and then-presidential hopeful) Marco Rubio stalled in the charged political climate around the election. But now the proposal to give Miami Lakes its own ZIP Code is tucked into a bill that would give it and four other municipalities in New York, Nevada and Florida their own ZIP Codes.
The bill — HR 6846, sponsored by Florida Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart — passed the House of Representatives and is currently being considered by the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. Cid recently returned from a trip to Washington, D.C., where he met with Rubio’s staffers, and both leaders in both the majority and minority caucuses to promote the bill.
“It was a great trip. We gained a lot of ground,” Cid said. Miami Lakes has hired an advocate to push the bill “24/7,” and Cid hopes to see it pass the Senate by the end of this Congress in January.
“A lot of folks were very open to doing this. There is a lot of maneuvering as we speak,” Cid said.