Archive for Thursday, August 4, 2011

City to seek end of Basehor/Bonner ZIP code confusion

Hundreds of residences south of U.S. Highway 24-40 in or near Basehor lie south of a ZIP code boundary that receives its U.S. mail from the Bonner Springs Post Office, despite its proximity to the Basehor Post Office.

Hundreds of residences south of U.S. Highway 24-40 in or near Basehor lie south of a ZIP code boundary that receives its U.S. mail from the Bonner Springs Post Office, despite its proximity to the Basehor Post Office.

August 4, 2011

It sparks confusion for insurance companies, skeptical driver's license bureau clerks and GPS devices, Dave Walsh says.

Walsh has been a Basehor resident since the Cedar Lake Estates subdivision was annexed into the city in 2009. But his address still has a 66012 Bonner Springs ZIP code.

So when he received a letter from the city of Basehor in June telling him about an effort by the city to extend the boundary for the 66007 Basehor ZIP code southward, he was all for it, he said.

“It's the right thing to do, with all the growth going on out here,” Walsh said.

The odd conflict between his city of residence and his postal address has caused home and auto insurance companies to believe he lives in Wyandotte County, thus giving him a higher rate, he said. GPS navigation devices sometimes act as if his address doesn't exist. And when he recently missed the delivery of a package to his home, he had to drive more than 7 miles to Bonner Springs to pick it up, when the Basehor Post Office is less than 2 miles down 155th Street.

The city has heard those and other complaints from a number of residents dealing with ZIP code confusion. Hundreds of residences south of U.S. Highway 24-40 in or near Basehor lie south of a ZIP code boundary that has not changed to match population growth.

The city notified about 300 of those residences in June about plans to make a request to the U.S. Postal Service that the southern boundary of the 66007 ZIP code be moved to Interstate 70, giving those residents Basehor addresses. City clerk Corey Swisher said the city planned to make the formal request in the fall after all the affected residents are notified.

The move is in response to complaints from residents, Swisher said.

“People actually contacted us about this,” Swisher said. “This wasn't something we started out pursuing.”

About 330 of the city's utility customers live in the 66012 ZIP code, Swisher said, which gives an idea of how many residences have the conflicting ZIP code.

Swisher said the city started looking into the issue after some residents reported they'd been charged a Bonner Springs sales tax rate after ordering purchases to be delivered to their homes, and that confused insurance companies had given them higher Wyandotte County rates. After the city notified residents about the issue, he said, officials heard about a list of other complications.

“As we started getting feedback, there was a plethora of other issues that people are experiencing because of the ZIP code,” Swisher said.

Along with insurance mix-ups, GPS difficulties and post office inconveniences, the city heard that residents had trouble receiving deliveries and even registering to vote, Swisher said.

Despite all those complaints, making the change happen is not likely to be simple. Rich Watkins, a regional spokesman for the US Postal Service, said a number of variables are in play when it comes to ZIP code boundaries.

“There are logistical problems,” Watkins said. “It's not just, 'Oh, we just switch this number, and it's no big deal.' ”

ZIP — which stands for “zoning improvement plan” — codes were created in 1963 to provide a better system for sorting and delivery of mail, Watkins said. So moving ZIP boundaries can affect the Postal Service's sorting methods, staffing, routes and more.

It's not uncommon for ZIP boundaries to move as communities grow and change, Watkins said, but making those changes is complicated and not always possible.

“We have to base our decision on what's best for the Postal Service and the delivery system,” Watkins said.

The city made a similar request in 2008, but the Postal Service declined to move the boundary, former city administrator Carl Slaugh said. The USPS did begin to allow Basehor residents with 66012 ZIP codes to list Basehor as the city in their postal address, though, Slaugh said.

That request helped spark a dispute between the cities of Basehor and Bonner Springs regarding their future growth plans. Bonner Springs city manager John Helin said his city had not considered the issue since then, but its position then was that residents with Bonner Springs addresses should keep them.

“I don't see that our position has probably changed since then,” Helin said.

Swisher said he expected that the process of moving the ZIP boundary would not be simple. Response from residents about the effort, he said, had been overwhelmingly supportive. A few residents outside the city had expressed concern that the change would signal an impending annexation attempt, but those two issues are not connected, Swisher said.

“This is purely as a courtesy to our residents,” Swisher said.

Walsh, the Cedar Lake Estates resident, said he just hoped his address confusion would end.

“Eventually, it gets worked out” when confusion arises, Walsh said, “but it's a hassle.”

Comments

parentX2 2 years, 8 months ago

I am one of those 66012 Basehor residents. I have never understood why my children go to the Basehor-Linwood school district, my phone is a Basehor phone, I live in Leavenworth County but I have a Bonner address. We call it "living in no man's land." I hope this problem is solved and we become part of the Basehor community.

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ourhouse 2 years, 8 months ago

I, too, have a 66012 zip code, my children also go to Basehor-Linwood schools but I have a Linwood phone, live in Leavenworth county BUT we are physically closest to De Soto. I am constantly clarifying / correcting information. Yes, it is a pain but that is part of living in rurual America. Welcome to the country folks, we have gravel roads, livestock that will get out and yes we may even have to give a physical roadside marker to the delivery driver to get that much awaited for package. The rural mail carriers don't seem to have problem finding your rural address to deliver the bills or the numerous pieces of junk mail....do they?! But then again, some of the "city" people that made a choice to move to a rural area seem to forget that it's called rural for a reason. If you want your address to match your phone and school then move back to the "city". I guess even small towns have to make an issue of something just to keep them in the newspapers.

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lorengot 2 years, 8 months ago

I am one of those effected persons that recieved a letter from the city of Basehor providing notice that the City of Basehor will be submitting a zip code change request to USPS to include addresses south KS 24/40 highway with a Basehor zip code of 66007. I wish to go on record that I am vehemently opposed to this potential change for the following reasons: 1.) Such a change will require an unnecessary change of address at significant time and expense to effected persons, while providing little to no additional benefit other than to the City of Basehor, and is not in the best interest of tax-paying public. 2.) Many official legal documents and records, for example, driver’s licenses, passports, social security, really any records of every government agency at county, state and national level will need to update their records to reflect this proposed change, again placing burden on effected persons. 3.) Current creditors, i.e. banks, credit unions, credit card companies, home mortgage companies, utility companies, on-line service providers, anyone or any company that I have done business with will need to be notified and records updated. 4.) Financial and Investment companies will need to be notified of a change of address to ensure statements are delivered in a timely manner without delay or disruption of key financial and investment information Vehicle titles, binding contracts, real estate deeds, and social security may also need to be updated. (Continued, see par t#2)

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lorengot 2 years, 8 months ago

(continued from Part#1) In the letter the City of Basehor offers a list of issues that might be better described as possible justifications for the proposed zip code change. Please allow me to review each point, as some of these appear to be misleading and possibly intentional as a further means of justification for the proposed change. 1. Loss of sales tax and compensating use tax for the City of Basehor. There are many examples of surrounding municipalities that have more than one zip code assigned to them. Surely Basehor should be able devise a means to collect sales tax. Figure it out!

  1. Basehor residents are forced to pay higher Wyandotte County insurance rates (home, auto, etc.) This simply is not the case for me personally. My insurance provider is aware of what county our property is located. Should anyone actually be paying a rate associated with Wyandotte County needs to contact their provider to request a possible refund of any increased rates they may have paid and to ensure they are paying rates based upon residing in Leavenworth County, not Wyandotte County.
  2. Basehor residents with a 66012 zip code are required to drive seven miles to the Bonner Springs post office in order to pick up packages or signature required mail while the Basehor post office is only 1 ½ miles away. Again this appears to be a misrepresentation of services provided by USPS. They will make multiple attempts at delivery prior to providing notice that a trip to the post office is required. Additionally, there is no law that I am aware of that requires a mandatory appearance to any post office to pick up a package or to sign for mail if an individual so elects not to do so. From my perspective, I would much rather make a very infrequent trip (maybe once or twice a year, if at all) to the Bonner Springs post office rather than to have to go through the time and expense to make a zip code change.
  3. Possible miscount of residents during the most recent census. Really? This really seems to be a stretch! Conversely, one could make the argument that census takers can get it right. Additionally, Census takers will know where they are and what area they are working in.
  4. Delivery companies frequently have difficulty locating homes mistakenly looking in Bonner Springs. This is again an incorrect assumption. Delivery companies continue to provide the same level of service, regardless of zip code, and in spite of the City of Basehor’s forced annexation!
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lorengot 2 years, 8 months ago

Continued from part#2 6. Possible delayed service from first responders (emergency personnel) Got to call foul on this one too! First responders come from the station right there in Basehor and this is a county wide service, not specific or unique to Basehor. Last time I checked Basehor was still in Leavenworth County. Do you really expect people to believe now that our zip code is not the same as Basehor they will not be able to locate us? Perhaps we all need to go over and knock on the door and introduce ourselves! I would propose that if this is actually true and is not working as it previously had been, it is because of the Basehor annexation! 7. Inability of Global Positioning Systems (GPS) to identify residences. These systems are typically satellite based. I own a GPS exclusive device that I have not bothered to periodically update with new maps (primarily because there is better technology and multiple use devices that better serve the end user) Even with this older technology not being updated with new maps, it is able to locate any residence in this area because the zip code has not changed and has remained stable.

If you take a look at the Basehor list, most of these “issues” are the direct result of the forced annexation of our area and were all previously cited as reason not to proceed with the annexation. Basehor city council created this mess, and as such they now need to demonstrate responsible civil leadership that will not further unnecessarily burden its citizenry. It appears that the City of Basehor again is hell bent on going after any and all revenue they can possibly get their hands on without any consideration of impact to its citizens they are elected to serve. It has been an expensive pill for this tax payer to swallow when my real estate taxes increased over $2,400 per year because the city chose to forcibly annex our area and we have zero additional benefits or services to show for this increase. All of this taking place without any say so in the matter resulting in our rights further being diminished. Here is a novel concept. How about if the city operates within current revenue streams and lives within their means like the rest of have to? It never ceases to amaze me that it appears to me that government entities seem to conveniently forget where tax payer funds come from or who they have been elected by or employed by to serve. It seems the voice of the taxpaying citizen falls on deaf ears these days. When will enough ever be enough? Please leave us alone!

Bonner Springs 66012

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