As Elmore County entered 2020, county leaders recently met to discuss plans for reaching as many people as possible to respond to the United States Census of 2020.
The group is led by county employees Richie Beyer, chief engineer and operations officer, and Heather Moe, public information officer.
“It is go time now for the Census,” Beyer said. “We have enjoyed a very good partnership with the cities and board of education.”
The county received a $30,048 from the Alabama Department of Economic Development and Community Affairs to encourage residents to participate.
“I cannot emphasize enough the importance of what a full and accurate count in the 2020 Census means for Alabama,” Gov. Kay Ivey said in a release. “Those numbers have a direct impact on billions of dollars in funding that affect schools, community programs, health care, job opportunities and just about every other aspect of our state.”
Alabama awarded $1 million in grants to 34 government agencies and organizations for programs to increase Alabama’s self-response rate during the 2020 Census this spring.
Moe echoed Ivey’s statement as she spoke during a recent meeting.
“Six minutes, 10 questions, $13 billion for Alabama over the next 10 years,” she said. “We want to reach as many people as possible. Our biggest push will be April and May.”
Moe said the county plans to promote the 2020 Census at events that draw large crows such as polling locations during the March 3 primaries, Santuck Flea Market the first Saturday in April and May and Wetumpka and Millbrook Mardi Gras events.
The county purchased 20 tablets with a portion of the grant money.
Those tablets will be used at these events, at the county tag office and other locations to be determined, Moe said.
“The last day in March, that’s the biggest and busiest day for the tag department,” Moe said. “We will have some people down stairs asking people to fill out the Census with those iPads.”
Elmore County Public Schools are giving students the chance to participate in a miniature census, which consists of five questions.
“What is your name, how many pets do you have, what is your eye color — those types of questions,” Moe said. “The (Elmore County) Board of Education will house the census on its website and retain the information submitted by students.”
It will be available for students in all grades.
“The direction we are going with this is students (will) go home and talk to their parents about the census,” Moe said.
Atlanta Regional Census Bureau representative William Scott has worked with Elmore County to plan the rollout of the 2020 Census.
“Elmore County started their planning early,” Scott said. “They have staff who have been available that made it a lot easier to get farther ahead in preparing for the 2020 Census.”
According to information published by the U.S. Department of Commerce, the federal body administering the 2020 Census, homes across the county will begin to receive invitations to complete the questionnaire.
Census responses may be submitted online, by phone or by mail.
The 2010 Census reported 79,303 people lived in Elmore County.