State has $73K for Orleans County to help with census count

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 26 December 2019 at 12:17 pm

ALBION – Orleans County is slated to receive up to $73,092 in state funding to help with the 2020 census count.

The County Legislature has authorized the Orleans County Planning and Development Director Jim Bensley to submit the paperwork for the money. The state funds are intended to target areas where there have been low participation rates for filling out the census forms.

The upcoming census will be the first time residents can fill it out electronically. The kickoff date is April 1.

The electronic filing option will be difficult for some county residents without access to high-speed internet, Bensley said.

“We don’t have broadband internet everywhere in our county so that’s a concern,” Bensley said about the electronic filing.

He expects the county will form a committee soon with a plan to maximize the census count. That may include include partnering with local public libraries and Community Action, which could provide computer access and assistance for residents.

Those who don’t complete the form electronically may be sent paper copies. If those aren’t turned in, a census enumerator could knock on the door of people who haven’t completed the census, Bensley said.

He is waiting for guidelines from the state on how the money allocated for the county should be spent. The funding could include translation services, outreach to farmworkers and perhaps the Amish and Mennonite communities, as well as reaching out to senior citizens and people in poverty.

The county’s population has been trending downward. In 2000, the population was 44,171 for Orleans County. That number declined to 42,883 in 2010.

County officials want an accurate count because the population data affects reapportionment for elected officials in local, state and federal governments, as well as levels of state and federal funding.

Population trends also are studied by the private sector for investment decisions, Bensley said.

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