Nearly three weeks after U.S. Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan re-introduced legislation to direct the U.S. Postal Service to give Swanzey one unique, town-wide ZIP code, the bill remains stalled in committee.
Shaheen and Hassan, both Democrats, introduced essentially the same legislation in 2017, but the bill never cleared the 115th Congress, thus forcing the Granite State delegation to submit it again this year once the new Congress convened, according to Shaheen’s office.
The ZIP code issue has long plagued North Swanzey.
North Swanzey shares the ZIP code used by Keene, Roxbury and Surry — 03431 — rather than taking the 03446 code used by the rest of Swanzey. Otherwise, the exception among Swanzey’s five villages are the post office boxes in West Swanzey, which have their own ZIP code of 03469.
The issue can be confusing for package and mail delivery, as well as for emergency response, town officials have said.
Further complicating the matter was a number of similarly named roads, both within Swanzey as well as between North Swanzey and other communities sharing the 03431 ZIP code.
Swanzey changed a number of street names in North Swanzey and elsewhere in town in January 2017 to help address the issue.
The town also petitioned the U.S. Postal Service for a uniform ZIP code, but it was rejected by the service’s Northern New England District.
Then Shaheen and Hassan stepped in to remedy the situation through congressional authorization.
“This will help reduce any confusion as to whether an address is physically located in Swanzey versus Keene or the other surrounding towns that use the 03431 zip code, including for the purposes of emergency response,” Swanzey Town Administrator Michael Branley wrote in an email to The Sentinel Monday.
The new bill, SB S.2759, has been read twice on the Senate floor, but has yet to receive a vote. For now, it sits in the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, according to the congressional bill database.
A spokesman from the office of U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., did not immediately return a request for comment Monday afternoon on when the bill may come to the floor for a full vote.
“Swanzey residents, small businesses, and first responders all agree — it is long past time that we designate a single, unique zip code for this community,” Hassan said in a statement included in a joint news release with Shaheen.
“This is a simple legislative fix that is long overdue and will improve the daily life of Swanzey residents,” Shaheen said.