NEWCASTLE, Okla. – The city of Newcastle claims a zip code confusion may be costing them millions of dollars.
City officials believe they’re losing out on tax money, because of blurred lines between Norman and Newcastle residents.
Newcastle resident Daniel Remington says, “Just imagine a million dollars, what that would do. It would do a whole lot. It really would.”
There are two zip codes in Newcastle city limits and one of them has Norman ties. Officials call that the “area of question”.
Over the past decade, businesses shipping to that area think they are shipping to Norman. That gives Newcastle’s larger neighbor to the west all of the sales tax.
That money goes towards the city’s fire and police departments, so that’s a million dollars that could have been used to cut down emergency response times.
City Manager Nick Nazar says, “Because those dollars have been misdirected we weren’t able to do some of the things we’d like to do for those people living in that area.”
Realizing how much they are missing out on, city officials have recently said enough is enough.
Resident Daniel Remington says, “Everybody just figured the post office is untouchable. No one wanted to mess with it. It was too big of a project.”
Remington lives in the “area of question,” watching the money slip out of his city’s hands.
He’s done his research and found recent changes in legislation that could make the zip code change a reality.
But it’s going to take some convincing.
“Zip codes were not set up to allocate sales tax. Zip codes were set up by the post office to deliver mail,” says Remington. “It’s not the post office’s responsibility that we as municipalities have tied tax rates the zip codes.”
Remington will be the leader of the pack asking the USPS to do his hometown a favor so they won’t have to go without another million dollars.
“They now have the mentality that they want to try and say yes to these. Not try to say no,” says Remington. “In the past, they looked for ways to say no, now they look for ways to say yes.”
The city now has to apply for the change. If the post office says yes, everyone who lives in the “area of question” gets a vote.
If everyone’s on board, Newcastle could be seeing the money by next July.