By KIRSTEN LASKEY
Los Alamos Daily Post
The White Rock zip code changed from 87544 to 87547 in July 2016 but residents don’t need to worry about filling out any change of address forms, updating passports or driver’s licenses. They just need to remember to use the new zip code when supplying their address. (Los Alamos can still be used as the city of residence.)
“We absolutely encourage customers to use the correct zip code in their correspondence,” said Peter Hass, U.S. Postal Service media relations specialist for New Mexico. He added that customers are given a grace period of one year before it is required to use the new address.
Los Alamos Postmaster Jim Hunter explained the reason for the zip code change was “to increase our ability to give better customer service in both Los Alamos and White Rock.”
“It allows automation (the machine that sorts mail down to the street level) to do the work for us and it allows us to get the mail sorted earlier and better,” he explained.
Hunter added that the results are starting to show.
“We started seeing the benefits in the last couple of months.” Hunter said.
The process to change the zip code occurred at the federal level, Hunter said. It was initiated locally five years ago.
Hass said, “Every postal facility needs an accurate database and in many cases the local area and postal district initiates or forwards the postal code change and it is finalized at the national level.”
When the change was put into place, Hunter said everybody in White Rock received a letter notifying them of the new zip code.
The new zip code doesn’t require White Rock residents to do any extra work. Hunter said current passports do not need to be updated and Deanna Overson, a municipal licensed clerk at the Los Alamos Department of Motor Vehicle office, said residents do not need to do anything different for their driver’s license. She added as of Nov. 14, proof of residency such as a utility bill is needed to renew all licenses. So, when it comes time for a White Rock resident to renew their license, Overson said, “As long as (their) gas and light bill reflect the new zip code, they will be fine.”
Hass said the zip code, which stands for zone improvement program, was established in 1963. Its purpose is to make the sorting and distribution of mail as efficient as possible.