Local leaders to promote census participation

(Posted Jan. 14, 2019)

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

The U.S. Census Bureau is looking to local government leaders to help spread the word about the upcoming 2020 Census. The goals are to boost citizen participation in filling out the census questionnaire and to recruit census workers.

Rob Slane, Madison County administrator, said thorough census data collection is important to the county because community improvement grant funding often is based on census information.

“We need to do everything we can to get information out to the public to make the census as successful as possible,” he said. “The overall goal is to get everyone counted.”

Slane pointed to social media, website posts, newspaper articles and word of mouth as no-cost or low-cost ways to get the word out.

The Census Bureau wants local leaders to form “complete count committees” to help with the awareness campaign. Slane said he could create a county-wide committee. Individual municipalities also have the option to form their own count committees.

At the county commissioners meeting on Jan. 8, Commissioner Mark Forrest suggested that Slane talk to mayors and other government leaders around the county to see which way they want to go.

“The responsibility of the (committee) is minimal, but what it effects is huge,” Slane said.

Mandated by the U.S. Constitution, the U.S. Census counts every resident of the United States once every 10 years. The data is used to determine the number of seats each state has in the U.S. House of Representatives and to distribute billions of dollars in federal funds to local communities.

Slane noted that Dayton will serve as the census hub for Madison County. He has been told the hub is having trouble recruiting workers. Positions are available for both office and field work. Pay ranges from $13 per hour to $27 per hour for office work. Field work pays $16 per hour. For more information, go to 2020census.gov/jobs.

Rural Planning Organization

Forrest and his fellow commissioners, David Hunter and Dr. Tony Xenikis, voted in favor of the county joining the Central Ohio Rural Planning Organization (CORPO), part of the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC). Membership is $7,500 per year.

CORPO provides members with transportation planning services. Last summer, the organization completed a long-range transportation plan that reflects the needs of its seven member counties: Madison, Fairfield, Knox, Marion, Morrow, Pickaway and Union.

The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) pitched in funding to start CORPO a couple of years ago. Madison County has participated on the committee at the non-paying associate level for over a year. The ODOT funding expired last year, leaving associate members with the decision to stay and pay or leave.

Slane recommended that the commissioners sign up for full MORPC membership, which is $16,500 a year and includes two voting seats on the MORPC board.

The commissioners opted to get their feet wet first at the CORPO level.

“If we see that it would be beneficial to have the two (voting) seats and to go to full membership, then we could do that later,” Forrest said.

Bridge rehabilitation

The county Engineer’s Office plans to rehabilitate the bridge on Grewell Road near the Little Darby Scenic River Preserve in Monroe Township. The bridge crosses Little Darby Creek and sits between Lafayette Plain City Road and Taylor Blair Road.

The estimated cost of the project is $510,000. Engineer Bryan Dhume said state funds will cover 95 percent of the cost. The county is covering the other 5 percent using credits the Engineer’s Office earned years ago for using in-house labor on other bridge projects.

Built in 1993, the Grewell Road bridge is a truss design. Dhume said the trusses are in good shape but the structure under the roadway is in bad shape after 25 years in a damp environment.

The rehabilitation work is slated to start in June and finish up later this year.

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