On June 19, I appeared before Hamilton Township Council asking for its support as Robbinsville continues its quest to secure ‘Robbinsville 08691” as its preferred ZIP code from the United States Postal Service.

Despite some challenges, the new USPS team assigned to our case appears willing to work with us on this issue, which is very important to vast majority of our residents. One of the solutions agreed to by both sides was to possibly forgo a second mailed survey, which was a disjointed and frustrating exercise back in 2016, and simply make “Robbinsville 08691” our primary ZIP code with “Trenton 08691” becoming the secondary choice.

To be clear, no Trenton residents live in 08691.

There are, however, a formidable number of residents and businesses in Hamilton that utilize 08691. Thus, in order for the USPS to consider any type of switch, a letter of support from Hamilton Council was needed.

I want to thank council president Anthony Carabelli, Jr., council vice president Jeffrey Martin, councilwoman Ileana Schirmer, councilman Richard Tighe and councilman Ralph Mastrangelo for allowing us the opportunity to request that letter of support. We already receive enormous and well-documented support from Assemblyman Wayne DeAngelo and Rep. Chris Smith, among others, which we very much appreciate.

Robbinsville Township won its appeal for a new survey in September 2017 after the USPS denied Robbinsville’s initial request in 2016, this despite the fact close to 96 percent of our residents returned surveys in favor of the change. The denial was due to the USPS claim that Robbinsville failed to meet the required response rate. I can prattle on for another 1,000 words disputing the survey criteria and USPS policy regarding such ZIP code requests, but that is looking back.

Rather, I prefer to look forward and hope the USPS sees what we see:

Lower auto insurance rates (likely) for residents who live nowhere near Trenton; packages arriving at their intended destination of Union Street in Robbinsville as opposed to Union Street in Trenton, and 18-wheelers headed to our Warehouse Park on Applegate Drive not ending up on residential Applegate Drive in Hamilton Township.

We’ll certainly keep you posted. No pun intended.

* * * * *

Big thank you to our council, who unanimously passed Resolution 2018-176 on June 14 authorizing the township to become the first municipality in Mercer County to enter into a memorandum of understanding with the Southern New Jersey Building and Construction Trade Councils, as well as the Mercer and Burlington Counties Trade and Construction Councils, on a direct-hire pilot program.

This MOU will allow the Township to supplement its existing workforce with highly-skilled and qualified construction/electrical/plumbing workers employed directly from those respective unions on an as-needed, temporary basis. We will no longer be forced to go through independent contractors, and it gives us much more oversight into work being done on township-owned property with taxpayer dollars. The workers will be referred to the township by the aforementioned trade councils and all parties agree that such labor will be provided at the sole discretion of Robbinsville Township. The scope of work will vary, but will include township repairs and/or construction under Director of Public Works Dino Colarocco and/or his designee(s).

Once again, we are proud to partner with Assemblyman DeAngelo, Congressman Smith and Michael Maloney from Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 9 on this groundbreaking agreement.

Dave Fried is the Mayor of Robbinsville.