WASHINGTON COUNTY, Ark. (KNWA) — Mayors of two small Washington County cities are speaking out over their frustrations with the United States Postal Service.
“Little towns across America that are the backbone of the United States aren’t getting their fair shake,” Tontitown Mayor Paul Colvin said.
Three separate zip codes cover the city of Tontitown. The zip code, 72762, is shared by the city of Springdale, and has been an issue for years.
“The only one that signifies Tontitown on it is a PO box. If you don’t have a PO box, then your mail is going to be Springdale or Fayetteville, which creates some confusion for folks moving into our town and for vendors that are trying to deliver to these folks,” Colvin said. “Not just a tax issue, but from folks being able to not get medicine that they need, to our own water department having mail sent back to us because the sorting process in Springdale can’t seem to figure it out on some occasion.”
In Tontitown, Colvin says sales tax revenue has remained the same instead of increasing like he expected. This is among others issues that have popped up from confusion with zip codes and last line addresses.
Despite substantial development in the City of Elm Springs, sales tax has gone down.
Sales tax revenue dropped from roughly $12,000 to $9,000 from last fiscal year to 2019.
“Something needs to be done about this,” says Mayor Harold Douthit.
Douthit lives in Elm Springs, but his mailing address says he lives in Springdale.
“I order my medication by phone. I’ve been at the same address since 1999. My prescription goes to the address in Springdale. The carrier in Springdale has no idea who I am. He writes across it, no such address. It gets sent back to the V.A. I’m without medication,” Douthit said. “I don’t want to change our addresses, I don’t want to change our 911 addresses, I don’t want to change our zip code. I want it to say Elm Springs instead of Springdale. I’ve been working on it for over 6 years.”
Over 40 of his citizens say they are experiencing their own problems when it comes to their mailing address.
Both mayor Colvin and Mayor Douthit say they have reached out to the USPS and several state lawmakers, but nothing has changed.
We reached out to the USPS, and provided us with this statement:
The Postal Service established ZIP Codes and delivery boundaries to ensure efficient mail delivery and good service. They are not intended to determine town, city, municipal or other identities. ZIP Codes do not always conform to municipal boundaries and often times a delivery area crosses multiple boundaries and counties. In response to increasing requests for ZIP Code and place name changes, the U. S. Postal Service has developed a uniform process to review these requests. In order to determine if a request can be implemented, requests undergo a careful analysis of the cost and service implications of making the change. The Postal Service strives to always provide the best possible service and we have not been made aware of any delayed mail in the cities mentioned. We would like to remind customers if they have concerns, they have a variety of options for reaching us, including contacting their local Post Office, calling 1-800-ASK-USPS (1-800-275-8777) or visiting our website at www.usps.com/help.”
However, these city officials say enough is enough.
“I want my address to say Elm Springs, that’s where I live,” Douthit said.
Colvin adds, “a lot of the problems that we’re seeing could diminish if we could at least add our name to the 72762, or issue us our own zip code.”