ZIP it

It’s tough for officials with the U.S. Postal Service to win points with residents these days considering the long lines at local post offices and the steady rise of postal rates. But the Postal Service could score big points with more than 10,000 local residents if they act on one simple request grant the city of Manassas Park its own, unique ZIP code.

Manassas Park has its own town hall, school system and police force but it must share a ZIP code (20111) with the city of Manassas and a surrounding portion of Prince William County. This has resulted in a bit of an identity crisis for the city and has caused snafus including the issuance of county voter cards to city residents and Manassas tax bills sent to Manassas Park taxpayers. That’s just to name a few. There are also concerns that Manassas Park may have been short changed through distorted census data which translated into less state funding.

A unique ZIP code would further distinguish the city from neighboring jurisdictions. One of the latest snafus included cell phone companies charging a Prince William wireless tax to Manassas Park residents because the 20111 ZIP code was also associated with the county.

Like all other domains of the federal government, change comes slowly at the Postal Service and the alteration of a simple 5-digit sequence is too much of a shock to the system for the residents of Manassas Park to be granted their wish. Representatives of the Postal Service have been quoted as saying that a simple ZIP code to represent Manassas Park has little chance of becoming reality.

The creation of the ZIP code system more than 30 years ago was a major change in an organization that had seen few changes since the days of Ben Franklin. Now we are so mired in this complex ZIP code system that it’s better to overlap existing cities and counties rather than rock the boat.

Woodbridge, which is neither a town nor city, seems to have nearly a half dozen different ZIP codes. In fact the Potomac News uses two different ZIP codes (one for on site delivery and another for a post office box). Maybe Woodbridge could donate one of its codes to Manassas Park.

We hope city officials remain steadfast in their quest for a Manassas Park ZIP code and don’t get discouraged if initially turned down. It’s a good idea and the federal government should work on a way to make it happen.

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