After months of complaints from Shelter Islanders about difficulties receiving both first class mail and packages because of confusion about ZIP codes here, a representative of the United States Postal Service will be at Town Hall tonight to hear about the problems and, perhaps, lead the way to some solutions.
The meeting was organized by Oliver Longwell, communications director for Congressman Tim Bishop (D-Southampton) and he and Councilman Peter Reich, who has experienced his own problems with mail delivery through the years, will be on hand to discuss the problems.
Despite the best efforts of the Island’s two postmasters to have mail shuttled between their respective post offices when it’s mis-addressed, too many Islanders have failed to receive renewal notices for drivers licenses and vehicle registrations, bills for insurance premiums and even federal government mail from the Social Security Administration, Medicare and the Internal Revenue Service.
Some have seen their mail go to Southampton, East Hampton or Sag Harbor, or been told by various companies from whom they tried to order merchandise that neither of the two Shelter Island ZIP codes exist in their databases.
And maps published by the Postal Service vary in terms of geographical locations with one map showing no ZIP codes on the Island.
Mr. Reich has pointed out that while he lives in the Center, he maintains a post office box in the Heights — something postal officials have told the Reporter is legal — and he has frequently corrected his ZIP code, only to have various databases revert back to the wrong number.
Residents have tried listing their street addresses with post office box numbers in parentheses to try to get around those companies unwilling to send goods to a box number.. But those efforts have often failed to improve the situation.
Even the League of Women Voters, who saw an increased number of long-time residents not listed on the voter rolls. They had to cast provisional ballots in the special January election for a Suffolk County legislator and League members questioned whether the ZIP code problems might be related. Both postal and Board of Elections officials have been mum about that possibility.
But tonight at Town Hall at 6 p.m. people might just get some answers or at least be able to focus attention of their problems that could lead to future solutions.