Fredericksburg City Beat

This blog includes news about City Hall, city schools and other 22401 news.

Pamela Gould reports on City Hall. You can reach her at 540-735-1972 or Robyn Sidersky reports on city schools. You can reach her at 540-374-5413 or

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Counties: Don’t call us Fredericksburg!

Jonas Beals reports that Stafford County officials are concerned that they could be losing tax payments to Fredericksburg because businesses in the county that have Fredericksburg in their mailing address are getting confused.

As we’ve reported before, this has been a concern in Spotsylvania recently, and in fact the city had to return about $400,000 in mistaken tax payments to Spotsy last year.

Dan Telvock has reported that Spotsylvania thinks the solution could be changing the two ZIP codes that have Fredericksburg mailing addresses to unique non-city addresses, so no one would think they were in the city.

But while county officials don’t want businesses mistakenly paying taxes to the city, some businesses don’t want to lose the identity that a Fredericksburg address gives them. Beals writes:

In fact, the “Fredericksburg” designation may be a benefit to some Stafford businesses. Deputy County Administrator Tim Baroody cited hotels as one business that would prefer to have a “Fredericksburg” designation.

A few years ago, I covered President George W. Bush’s speech at the Yak-a-Doos on U.S. 17 in Stafford. Somebody told the White House pool reporters that they weren’t technically in Fredericksburg, and they all spent about five minutes obsessing over what to put in their datelines. Falmouth? Stafford? Yak-a-Doos? It was entertaining, but not productive. (And confusion remains among out-of-town reporters. In a story today, the Washington Post talked about the GM Powertrain plant as if it was in the city.)

Locality identity is a constant problem in City Hall, where callers will often go into long tirades about problems they’re experiencing, only to give an address with a non-city ZIP code (anything other than 22401). That’s why the city’s redesigned Web site includes this page.

But as Beals writes, the whole question of what name goes on a mailing address might be a matter of local preference, with maybe just a little bit of inter-jurisdictional rivalry thrown in for good measure:

“It’s a matter of identity that is important to me,” Supervisor Paul Milde said. “It’s time for Stafford to take its identity back.”