Editorial roundup: Wisconsin

Kenosha News. October 30, 2022.

Editorial: New postcodes shouldn’t just pass unchecked

At first glance, we were delighted to see Wisconsin politicians teamed up to legislate to give residents of the villages of Caledonia, Mount Pleasant and Somers their own unique postcodes for mail delivery.

US Senator Ron Johnson and Congressman Bryan Steil proposed the change when introducing twin bills to Congress last week.

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“After hearing from residents and community leaders in Racine and Kenosha County about their frustrations with mail delivery confusions caused by outdated zip code limits, I was pleased to work with Senator Johnson to help said Steil, a Republican from Janesville.

He said, “This common-sense legislation directs the USPS to simplify and modernize these borders, saving many southeast Wisconsin residents unnecessary headaches.”

Indeed, ZIP code assignments and mailing addresses sometimes seem counterintuitive, with some Caledonia residents listing their mailing address as Racine, and some Kenosha County residents listing Racine as their mailing address as well.

And we have no doubt that being able to use your own village name as a mailing address would build community pride and foster a greater sense of identity across the three villages in the cultivation area. Geographic boundaries are something we can all relate to.

But the five-digit ZIP codes that were introduced nationwide in 1963 and then improved in 1983 when the USPS introduced ZIP+4 codes to allow sorting by block, street, or building were developed to help sort and efficient mail delivery – they weren’t developed with the idea of ​​nurturing community identity.

This system has given rise to interrogative ZIP codes in the area, such as code 53182 which extends from the city of Paris in Kenosha County, north through Union Grove, and then almost to Wind Lake.

The village of Caledonia has at least three postcodes and we have to wonder what will happen if they are all merged into a single code that reflects the village boundaries.

Before Johnson and Steil’s proposal reaches Congress, we urge lawmakers to get input from the USPS on exactly how it would be implemented — and, yes, what the cost would be. We don’t know if this would be a simple reprogramming of the sorting machines or if it would affect the mail journeys themselves. We hope this will be a simple, non-disruptive change, but Congress should consider it.

We say this because the USPS has struggled financially and had a net loss of $4.9 billion last year. That’s on top of a $9.2 billion loss in 2020, according to Reuters dispatches. This sparked a cost-cutting campaign which included slower delivery of some first-class mail – service standards from one to three days were changed to one to five days. First class stamp prices were increased from 55 cents to 58 cents.

We like the idea of ​​promoting community identity through unique community postcodes, but before we go down that road, we want to know if we can afford it.

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