Monday, June 9, 2008

Spotsy ZIP codes - Google Affect

Over the weekend I was catching up on some area news articles. In particular I tried to read the chain of postings about Spotsylvania meetings related to changing 22407 and 22408 from "Fredericksburg, VA" to something else (links here, here and here). The reasons for doing this are to create community and to correct some tax payment confusion. But are the county supervisors forgetting the Google affect?

Let me explain. When I'm looking for any type of business, one of the first things I do if I'm anywhere close to my laptop or blackberry is to Google "business" near:Fredericksburg, VA. A quick browse down the list and I normally choose someone close by. If it's just a service that I need without visiting, I simply look for a Fredericksburg, VA address. If I need to visit, I tend to look for 22401. Businesses with Spotsylvania, VA are normally left out, with my belief that they are further away, therefor less timely if there is travel involved (Stafford, KG usually fall into this boat too).

I wonder what the impact is going to be if they switch to "Spotsylvania, VA". It might improve a little with "Massaponax, VA", but I doubt if out of town folks will associate Massaponax with Fredericksburg.

- buy fresh, buy local


Larry Gross said...

There might be some better ways to fix this. and there are some folks upset at having to change their addresses....

..but this much we do know....

The BOS is not going to stand by and watch sales tax revenues go to the city.

So... the BOS is not wedded to any particular idea - per se - as long as - at the end of the process - they get their sales taxes.

..and for the folks that don't like this approach.. the easiest path would be to help the BOS find an alternate approach .. that still helps them with the sales tax issue.

I note with wonderment that in the similar Richmond/Henrico zip code dust-up that Richmond was saying that changing the zip codes was working against "regionalism" which is kind of amusing... in a way...

like "regionalism" is only useful if you are getting sales taxes from other jurisdictions.. or something..

I'm sure they probably did not intend it to sound that way - but again.. if the are other... relevant issues that the zip code does impact (and I agree there are).. you won't get from point a to point b by pretending the sales tax issue is not a show stopper.


Bryan said...

I understand completely the desire to correctly collect tax revenue. I think even the City would like to get rid of the headache of giving back money after it counts revenue for the year.

Why don't other jurisdictions have this problem (with the exception of Henrico/Richmond)? Albemarle County is almost all a Charlottesville, VA address. Or Roanoke City vs Roanoke County?

Type FIPS code tax confusion into google and Fredericksburg is the first item on the page. Are we really cutting edge on this issue? Or is it being overblown. At what point is it going to cost businesses (and as a result every tax payer through higher product costs or lower taxes) more than the tax savings. Think about what it cost alone in the hours to have multiple government officials present for the multiple public meetings.

Food for thought...

Nathan said...

Bryan and Larry, for that matter why isn't Stafford screaming too? 22405 and 22406 encompass the southern half of the county - heck, for those who have been around long enough, 22401 used to cover south Stafford.

My first impression of this was "here we go with Spotsylvania whining again about losing out to Fredericksburg". (Interestingly enough, Spotsylvanians have chafed against Fredericksburg since colonial times - I'll have to break out my college research paper sometime) I understand that the monies need to go to the correct jurisdictions, but I think this problem is merely a symptom of a much larger problem:

Why the heck do we maintain this archaic city/county separation? In any other state, the city would be in Spotsylvania County and a large majority of the two zip codes would also be in the city.

But that's a whole series of blog posts....

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