Residents of Powder Springs and unincorporated Cobb attending a packed town hall meeting Tuesday night seemed split on how they will vote on changing their ZIP code from Hiram’s 30141 to Powder Springs’ 30127.
The 40-plus citizens there will be part of the roughly 700 addresses in a Southwest chunk of the county that will be mailed a survey in either January or February. They will then vote simply for or against changing the ZIP code and mail it back to the U.S. Postal Service.
Those who rent their property in the affected area will not receive the survey because it will be mailed to their tenants.
If a simple majority approves, the switch will take effect July 1, 2013, with both 30127 and 30141 working for mailing for a full year. The section of Paulding County with Powder Springs' ZIP code would not be affected.
Lasting an hour and change, the meeting at the Coach Ford Center’s Reception Hall had a much larger attendance than most other public meetings in the city. It became heated at points, with some citizens going back and forth with each other, county and city representatives, and a Postal Service employee about the possible pros and cons of the switch.
Officials worked to keep everything orderly and often corralled the lively crowd back to one person speaking at a time.
The meeting was the only one that will be held before the surveys are sent out. Officials said, though, that a hotline will be set up that will allow citizens to call in and voice concerns.
Some of the positives mentioned Tuesday were better MapQuest and GPS detection, easier utility hook-ups, ensured city and county emergency response, simpler access to Cobb library cards, and a 1 percent lower tax rate—Paulding’s 7 percent to Cobb’s 6 percent—when making certain purchases.
“One percent is 1 percent. I’m trying to raise (three children). I need it,” said Johnnie Purify, the resident of the Woodberry Farm subdivision who, along with the City Council’s help, began a quest in April 2011 to get the Postal Service to make the switch.
Frequently encountering inquiries from citizens and government officials about ZIP code changes, the Postal Service has long argued that the sole purpose of its delivery boundaries are to get mail to customers quickly and cost-efficiently. But, if a request won't harm delivery, like the proposed Powder Springs change, it will be considered and potentially approved after a citizen vote.
City officials have heard ZIP code concerns for “quite a while,” City Planner Tina Garver said, adding that residents of unincorporated Cobb have voiced similar problems to the county government.
“It turned out people in Cobb County have the same concerns and confusions of having a Paulding ZIP code,” she said.
One resident of the Warren Creek subdivision—which is in the city limits but has a Hiram ZIP code—said she has a business with a Powder Springs address. The business, she explained, receives letters on time, while her home mail is three to four days late.
“I pay Cobb County taxes, I live in Powder Springs, and I want to be treated like a citizen of Powder Springs,” she said as some cheered.
But others argued their car and possibly medical insurance would go up, the change will entail much hassle, and the city will eventually try to annex their property.
“My insurance on auto—I’ve got two boys driving—will go up $108 a year just for the ZIP code change, not to mention the hassle of doing it,” one man said. “You’re talking about all these problems—we’ve never had a problem.”
One woman repeatedly said that the ZIP code change will be followed by annexation into the city.
"We’re not ignorant enough to know that on down the road, you’re going to want us in the city,” she said, followed by clapping and people shouting amen.
Dana Johnson with Cobb Community Development said: “This would only deal with issues of the ZIP code and would have no impact whatsoever on people’s status as incorporated or unincorporated.”
Currently, Powder Springs city limits includes both 30127 and Hiram’s 30141, some in Paulding County have the former, and some in Cobb have the latter—which shows that postal delivery boundaries don’t reflect city or county lines, incorporation, un-incorporation or annexation.
Property values were perhaps the biggest argument for those against the change.
“Does anybody in this room really want their property value to go down for a ZIP code?” one woman asked.
Later, a man said 30141’s median home value is $170,000 and 30127’s is $87,500. “If you move my house over into the 30127, automatically my house is going to drop almost half in value,” he said.
Another resident rebutted by saying that median isn’t the average but rather the value of the middle house on a list of all the houses in that ZIP code.
Interim City Manager Brad Hulsey called the switching of ZIP codes on certain houses “cause and effect. If this does take place … then the $470,000 house that’s being figured into the 30141 will be figured into the 30127.”
One man asked why incorporated Powder Springs and unincorporated Cobb were being tied together. “The incorporated areas are the ones who are complaining; the unincorporated are not from what I gather here.”
Garver explained that the new boundaries would ensure that Postal Service delivery doesn't decline. “If it was just the city limits of Powder Springs, it would almost make that boundary more confusing.”
Purify said having a ZIP code that doesn’t reflect where he lives has “had a lot of impact on my family.” He explained how he travels a lot and had the sheriff’s office come to his house to ensure an emergency call from his wife would be answered.
“I did not want my wife to dial a number and no one show up,” he said.
- Council Backs Resident in ZIP Code Dispute
- A Paulding ZIP Code in a Cobb World
- Letter: An Update on the Powder Springs ZIP Code Fight
- ZIP Code Dispute May Be Settled Soon