BUCKHANNON – It’s almost time for the 2020 Census, and officials with the United States Census Bureau want residents to be ready for the count.
Carol Cain Bush, partnership specialist for the U.S. Census Bureau spoke at Thursday’s Upshur County Commission and asked the commission to form a Complete Count Committee.
“My goal is to develop a grassroots effort to get the word out,” Bush said. “The Census is a good thing coming in 2020, and I hope to do this by creating Complete Count Committees with trusted local leaders, county commission, city councils and Family Resource networks.”
Bush said the Census is mandated by the U.S. Constitution and must be done every 10 years.
“It counts our population and households, providing a basis for the reapportioning of congressional seats and redistricting at federal, state and local levels,” Bush said. “The Census determines the distribution of over $675 billion federal dollars for vital state and local programs, and it provides important statistical support for grant applications and community planning.”
She said the Census impacts housing, education, transportation, employment, health care and public policy.
“The Census has been conducted every 10 years since 1790, and it gives us a true picture of who lives in our communities,” Bush said. “Over time, it has evolved pulling the latest technology and in 2020, this will mean no more paper surveys.”
For the 2020 census, she said communities will be asked to complete the survey online or over the phone.
“Preparing our communities for this change will be part of the challenge for each complete count community,” Bush said. “In the past, West Virginia has had a low response rate in this first survey phase and it’s our goal to do better in 2020.”
She brought a map that showed Buckhannon had the lowest response rate in Upshur County.
“I would have thought it would have been more in the outlying areas, but maybe you’ve got a more transient group of people that live in town or people that don’t have access or understand the importance, so that’s one reason we organize these groups,” Bush said.
She said there will still be people going door-to-door, but that will be done as a follow-up.
“That’s the second part of this community’s job is just to let everybody know that the Census takers are going to be showing up over the summertime, and that it’s really important that you provide that information and that it is confidential information,” Bush said. “It just helps us all out.”
She said Census day is April 1, 2020, so Bureau officials have about a year to get the word out about the Census process.
County Commissioner Terry Cutright told Bush they would consider her request relative to forming a Complete Count Committee and let her know when they had an answer.
In other county news at the March 7 commission meeting:
-Cpl. Rodney Rolenson with the Upshur County Sheriff’s Department, who is also the home confinement supervisor, gave the 2018 Home Confinement report and said the program saved the county $597,142 in regional jail fees. He said referrals were down, with 2017 having 73 and 2018 having just 68.
-Cheyenne Troxell, program director for Community Corrections, gave the 2018 Community Corrections report and said they saved the county $1,277,997.70 in regional jail fees. She said referrals were up from 2017 with 206 referrals that year and 236 in 2018.
-The commission approved a request from the Upshur County Resource Network Executive Director Lori Ulderich Harvey to utilize the courthouse annex foyer during the month of March to promote tobacco prevention with a focus on e-cigarette use. She also requested to use the Annex in the month of April for Child Abuse Prevention Month.
-The commission approved a request from Laura Meadows for a donation of family pool passes to the Upshur County Recreation Park pool to be used as a raffle prize during an upcoming elimination dinner for Seth Poling March 29, hosted by the Gauley River Boys.
-The commission approved a request from Sandra Bennett, the president of the W.Va. Strawberry Festival Board of Directors to use the courthouse plaza from May 11-19. She also requested moving picnic tables from the Buckhannon-Upshur Recreational Park to Spring Street for use in Vendor Alley.
-The commission approved a request from Dirk Burnside to be appointed to the Upshur County Enhanced Emergency Telephone Advisory Board as a community representative, effective immediately. Burnside’s term will expire June 30, 2020.
-The Commission approved a request from Gloria Burr, director of UCEMS, to appoint Susie McKisic to serve as the EMS representative on the Upshur County Enhanced Emergency Telephone Advisory board, effective immediately. Her term will be up June 30, 2019.