Article and Photo by Michael DePietro
The Town of Wheatfield is once again requesting one ZIP code for its municipal boundaries, and is looking for residents to provide their own stories of how the ZIP code confusion has negatively impacted their lives.
The town currently has four ZIP codes. During Monday’s Town Board meeting, Councilman Larry Helwig explained the current amount causes various problems and confusion for area residents and officials.
“Four ZIP codes just doesn’t work,” Helwig said. “(Town Clerk Kathy Harrington) can tell you about how death certificates are delayed because people die and, in order to get the right death certificate to match up with where the person really lives – in North Tonawanda, Niagara Falls, Sanborn or Lockport – sometimes they got to get funeral directors to redo things, and it takes time for people to get their affairs in order. There's a lot of other reasons, but we're going to be submitting this in about three weeks.”
As such, the town recently sent a letter to Congressman Chris Jacobs, who contacted the U.S. Postal Service requesting one ZIP code for the town. Now, the town is asking its residents and businesses for help by writing in with stories and explanations about any problems they may have experienced, either as a result of their mailing address being different from their physical address, or simply having multiple ZIP codes for the town.
Comments or concerns should be sent to the town clerk's office by no later than March 15. Letters can be sent physically to: Town of Wheatfield, 2800 Church Road, North Tonawanda, NY 14120, or by email to [email protected].
“So, if anybody has any horror stories of why (four) ZIP codes just don't work or why getting one ZIP code would be a better situation for the Town of Wheatfield – we need a letter,” Helwig said. “They don’t want to hear from elected officials, they want to hear from residents.”
The letters will be compiled and sent to the postal authority in Rochester.
Helwig said the struggle to get a unifying ZIP code has been a seemingly never-ending saga over the past 30 years. However, this time around, he believes the town has something working in its favor.
“Our population over the last 20 or 30 years has about doubled,” he said. “Back in the early ’90s, when we were looking for a ZIP code, we only had 10,000 people. Our last census I think we came up to 19,800. I mean, we're within a couple 100 people of 20,000, and there's some cities that have less than 20,000 that have their own ZIP code.”
For more information, contact the town clerk’s office at 716-694-6440.