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600 could be affected by ZIP code change
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Some residents in eastern Newton County will have to decide whether they want to keep their Social Circle mailing address and ZIP code or switch over to a Covington address.

The U.S. Postal Service sent out surveys beginning Tuesday to 616 addresses in eastern Newton County asking those residents whether they want to keep their current 30025 Social Circle ZIP code or switch to a 30014 Covington ZIP code.

The area in question is south of Interstate 20 and is bounded by Ga. Highway 11 on the west, by Hodges Circle to the south and by the Newton County line on the east, according to county Commissioner John Douglas.

The request originates from Baxter International officials who have made it clear they want a Covington address, according to Mort Ewing, Newton County’s representative on the Joint Development Authority who oversees the four-county Stanton Springs industrial park.

The survey will ask residents to indicate whether they want the change to take place, and they’ll have until April 11 to mail back a self-addressed envelope to the U.S. Postal Service.

The residents will have to provide their own postage on the envelope to offset the cost of the mailings, since the change was officially requested by the Newton County Board of Commissioners, according to postal spokesman Michael Miles.

The change will take place if a simple majority of those who respond vote yes, Miles said. So, if only a few people respond and more vote yes than no, the change will take place for all 616 addresses.

If the residents do approve the change, it will take place July 1.

Ewing, who served as a county commissioner for District 1 for 12 years, said numerous residents in that area asked him about getting a Covington address, but the process didn’t get rolling until Baxter made the request.

“What has been said to me is this, ‘We live in Newton County, shop in Covington, go to Covington doctors, go to Newton Medical Center for hospital services; everything we do is tied to Newton County and Covington,” Ewing said. “It just makes good, common sense to have an address that represents where we do business and where we live.”

However, current commissioner Douglas, who lives in the area that would be affected, said he doesn’t believe all addresses should be changed.

He’s reached out to U.S. Rep. Paul Broun, R-Athens, to see if any adjustment can be made.

“I want to work with Baxter and give them a Covington address,” Douglas said. “That’s what they want and that’s what we need to do. But I don’t see a need for the other 600-plus residents to change, and so I would favor either giving Stanton Springs or Baxter their own ZIP code or letting them just be an extension for the city of Covington.”

He said the address change would be an inconvenience for people who would have to change over all of their billing information.

The official request to the Postal Service was made last year by a different board of commissioners.

The Postal Service was OK with the change because it would not affect operations and would not cost the service more money.

The entire Social Circle ZIP code of 30025 is already served out of the Covington Carrier Annex on the Covington Bypass Road in Covington.

Miles said requests for ZIP code changes get made from time to time, and he’s currently dealing with a couple of other requests in the state.

Ewing said he’s actually had his address, though not his ZIP code, changed three times in the 74 years he’s lived at his Dixie Road homestead.

Though it’s not the same process, Georgia Perimeter College also requested a Covington address when it first moved to town.

Ga. Highway 11 actually has a Social Circle address and ZIP code, so the school technically placed its entrance off of Cedar Lane, which has a Covington address.