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Shared ZIP Codes can be changed

Posted: August 2, 2014 - 11:14pm

If you live in Martinez, you might be familiar with this problem.

You go online to do a little shopping, and quickly find a bargain you can’t pass up. You seal the deal, pay with plastic and pat yourself on the back for qualifying for free shipping. Victory. But when you submit your address, the confounded computer decides you must live in Augusta, not Martinez. So now, completing your purchase requires the dreaded call to customer service, and the prospect of hours waiting on hold while listening to Kenny G.

It’s all because of ZIP Code 30907.

Maybe my scenario is a bit far fetched, but I’m sure many Martinez dwellers have had their share of hiccups with misdirected packages because they share a ZIP Code with west Augusta.

For example, there’s Joe Soparas, a longtime Martinez resident who had enough frustrations with the ZIP situation to actually do something about it. This past week, Joe sent a letter to the area postmaster seeking to begin the process to request a new ZIP code for Martinez. (Yes, it can be done.)

In addition to occasional mail mix-ups, shared ZIP Codes can cause a number of less than excellent situations for those affected by the postal boundaries, according to a 2006 report to Congress.

One big one: Sales tax revenues are sometimes rebated by states to the wrong government entities based on ZIP Codes.

That is a real worry for Columbia County officials. Since 30907 is an Augusta ZIP Code, some suspect that tax revenues could be bleeding across the border, especially now that Georgia is collecting sales tax from online retailers.

Nick Genesi, a spokesman for the Georgia Department of Revenue, assured me that sales tax revenues are carefully distributed to the area of origin, but admitted the online aspect makes it “trickier.”

“We rely on the accuracy of the online retailers billing system,” he said.”Ideally, the online retailers system will automatically find out which county you are in by your address and remit the proper amount.”

Ideally.

Anyway, Joe Soparas wants to take the guesswork out of the process and he’s seeking community support. The next step is a survey of Martinez residents to see if they support the idea. He’s looking for some help. Perhaps the county government, the Chamber of Commerce or some interested private business folks can pitch in?

So, who wants to lend a hand?

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