For more than a decade, Miami Lakes has been vying to obtain its own ZIP Code from the United States Postal Service.
In pursuit of this goal, Vice Mayor Manny Cid wrote a letter to President Barack Obama last month, asking for his assistance.
“The people of my community have fought for an independent ZIP Code for many years and a concrete game-plan to achieve this goal, or simply receiving the cost of changing the boundaries, would be a positive improvement with our efforts,” Cid wrote to Obama.
Cid went on to write that the current system in which Miami Lakes shares some ZIP Codes with Hialeah causes confusion during census counting and election time, and results in fluctuating auto-insurance rates within Miami Lakes as companies could use ZIP Codes as a factor in determining premiums.
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During a council meeting last week, Cid said he had not received a response from the president, but that hopes to hear back “very soon.”
Miami Lakes last made a boundary change request in 2013, and as a result came a ZIP Code Boundary Review by the USPS.
The review determined that establishing a Miami Lakes ZIP Code was not feasible.
“The Postal Service does not adjust its delivery boundaries solely to provide local identity; ZIP Codes do not always conform to official community boundaries,” Debra Fetterly, a USPS spokeswoman for the South Florida District, said via email. “ZIP Codes were not intended for any other purpose than mail service.”
The USPS considers several factors such as population, area size and geographic features, road conditions and traffic patterns, future development, letter carrier’s line of travel, the relationship of existing delivery routes, and personnel and space available in the local Post Office, when conducting a boundary review.
“Approval of the ZIP Code realignment would be inviting operational difficulties that would result in deteriorated service and higher prices,” Fetterly said via email. “At a minimum, approval of such requests requires the relocation of the letter carriers, changes of the delivery routes and transportation schedules, revisions to directories, mail forwarding for customers whose addresses change, and significant administrative costs.”
Municipalities may make requests to the United States Postal Service every 10 years, per postal policy. The town cannot make another request until 2023.
During the council meeting Cid said he’s disappointed that the USPS hasn’t told the town how much a boundary change would cost, he believes that information could help in determine an alternative solution to the ZIP Code issue.
“Don’t just say no, give us some kind of proof,” Cid said at the meeting. “Show us what’s going on — like we do with our residents, when we say we can’t do this, we [also] say here’s the information.”
The USPS said in an email to the Miami Herald that it cannot release information on any cost factors.
Last week, Miami Lakes Town Attorney Raul Gastesi said he was in the midst of formally requesting the monetary cost for a boundary change from the USPS.
“It’s ridiculous.” Gastesi said. “Frankly, we are trying to figure out why they did what they did.”
Cid’s letter to Obama was written days after a majority of Miami Lakes voters approved a straw ballot question during the Nov. 4 general election, which asked if the town should continue its pursuit in getting its own ZIP Code.