Attention: Islanders. If your driver’s license or vehicle registration is nearing expiration and you haven’t received a renewal request, better check with the Department of Motor Vehicles. That also goes for insurance bills, and mailings from government agencies such as the Social Security Administration, Medicare and the Internal Revenue Service.
After several weeks of inquiries, the Reporter still has no response from the United States Postal Service about why some packages and first-class mail are failing to reach some Islanders, but it’s clear that it’s connected with problems involving Zip codes.
That little five-number code meant to make mail delivery easier is causing something of a nightmare for many Shelter Island residents and it’s not because local postmasters aren’t trying to live up to their motto to ensure tmail reaches its intended recipients.
There are many companies whose databases don’t recognize the 11964 and 11965 zip codes. Plus, many senders of first-class letters don’t recognize the proper zip codes or automatically change mail addressed using the Heights 11965 zip code to 11964. And many of the culprits appear to be government agencies.
At the request of the Reporter, Congressman Tim Bishop’s (D-Southampton) communications director, Oliver Longwell, has been trying to see how his boss might intercede on behalf of residents and business owners here. Still no word from Mr. Bishop’s office, however.
Inquiries to regional and national United States Postal Service officials has failed to elicit any comments while local postal officials are barred from making public statements about the confusion.
At issue are a number of problems:
• Since Islanders don’t have home delivery, shouldn’t its two Post Offices be allowed to grant “Enhanced Postal Services” enabling packages to be delivered to the Post Offices? They are, in fact, generally delivered and box holders get notices that packages have arrived. But that’s a result of informal practices at the two Post Officers, rather than policy.
• Why are there maps detailing the areas covered by the two postal districts that don’t coordinate with one another and in some cases show no zip code districts on the Island?
• Why are state and federal agencies unable to process first-class mail to residents in the two districts without problems and why are some changing Zip codes in their computer listings despite many attempts by residents to provide the correct Zip code information?
• What, if anything, can be done so Islanders can receive cell phones by mail? The Department of Homeland Security prohibits such mailings under the Patriot Act. Can’t something be done to facilitate such deliveries on an Island where there is no home delivery?
• Why do Islanders experience these difficulties with mail when residents of neighboring areas like Sag Harbor and Remsenburg, where there also is no home delivery, have no such problems?
• Why do some Islanders have to go to banks to get credit cards instead of receiving them through the mail?
These and similar questions are pending with regional and federal USPS officials who so far have remained silent after repeated requests for information.