Many Columbia County residents living in Appling will lose their Thomson address, but addresses in Harlem will stay the same.
The U.S. Post Office's address management center in Macon, Ga., sent out surveys in November and December to about 200 homes on the western edge of the county with Thomson ZIP codes to ask if they wanted to switch to either an Appling or Harlem ZIP code.
The surveys were broken down into four county postal districts and allowed the public to vote. Postal officials required at least 50 percent consensus from homeowners who turned in the survey before a switch could be made.
Harlem residents with Thomson ZIP codes voted to maintain the status quo. Appling residents with Thomson ZIP codes voted to switch.
Inside the county, homeowners living closer to Harlem, but having an Appling ZIP code, will stay with Appling. However, many current residents with a Harlem ZIP code have elected to switch to Appling.
The changes will be made in April, said Columbia County Emergency Services Director Pam Tucker.
Tucker pushed the post office to conduct the survey, because she worried that many county residents with Thomson ZIP codes might suffer with worse emergency services response times. She said the mismatched ZIP codes could create confusion with emergency responders as to who should respond to a particular address.
"We let those residents know some of the problems they may have by keeping the Thomson address," she said. "But you have to remember that there are factors to them, especially if it's a business, in changing their address - the cost of stationery and the time it takes to get people acclimated to a new address. Also, they could have already been happy with the time they get their mail."
The post office will send out customer notification letters with the results of the survey at the beginning of February.
The U.S. Post Office survey results for address changes:
Thomson to Harlem:
Yes 4 No 12
Thomson to Appling:
Yes 38 No 32
Appling to Harlem:
Yes 14 No 29
Harlem to Appling:
Yes 22 No 7
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