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Census information important; don’t forget to fill out and return forms

By Staff, 03/19/20 2:59 PM

PRESCOTT – With all the hoopla about the coronavirus, some may be forgetting it’s also time for the 2020 census.

Mary Godwin, executive director of the Prescott-Nevada County Economic Development Office, said it’s important for everyone to fill out and return their census forms once they arrive in the mail. A committee, consisting of: Terry Oliver, Mark Glass, Godwin, Tammie Rose, Jamie Hillery, Susie Key, Herb Langston, Kelly Dice, Mark Kieth, Jerry Hightower, Dale Booker, William Worlow, Pat Grimes, Patricia Roberts, Anita Jones and Theresa Tyree, was formed to help inform the pubic about the importance of filling out and returning census forms.

The committee worked, reaching out to people trying to get locals to take part-time jobs with the Census Bureau to go door-to-door and help those who may need assistance. Godwin said when the last census was done 10 years ago, Nevada County didn’t get a good count and that affected the county’s ability to do a lot of things. The county loses $33,000 per person overĀ  10 years for those who don’t get counted, or, those who don’t get counted cost the county $3,300 a year. The committee ordered signs and banners, putting them up all over the county to remind people of the census.

There are three ways people can respond to the census. First, the forms received in the mail can be returned by mail at no cost as they come with a postage paid envelop. Second, census information can be provided over the phone by calling, toll-free, 1-800-330-2020, or by going on line and filling out a form at www.2020census.gov. All information provided is confidential, and the forms do not ask about immigration status. In fact, the forms don’t require any personal information at all other than a person’s name, age and address.

Prior to COVID-19 closing things down, people could go to City Hall, the Nevada County Courthouse, the EDO, the Prescott-Nevada County Chamber of Commerce or the Nevada County Library to get help filling out a form. Now, information is being posted on the EDO’s Facebook page – Prescott/Nevada County Economic and Community Development, and courthouse employees are supposed to ask customers if they’ve filled out their forms. Booker, the 911 coordinator for the county, will be sending out a mass alert to all county residents who subscribe about this. Prescott Water and Light has information about the census in light bill, and local industry has been asked to post information on its bulletin board. The schools are sending out notices using their mass text system as well.

Godwin said predictions are for the state of Arkansas to see a decline in population with this census, especially in the southwest part of the state, which makes it even more important to get a good count. The forms are simple. It has no questions about income or immigration status.

Here are some of the things affected by the census: special supplemental nutrition programs for women, infants and children; federal transit formula grants; foster care Title IV-E; child care mandatory and matching funds for child care and development fund; section 8 housing assistant payment program; state children’s health insurance program, school breakfast program, low-income energy assistance and the ability to get grants for local projects.