Sundance Times - Continuing the Crook County News Since 1884

Complete County Committee needed for next year's census


September 12, 2019

The federal government will be performing its ten-year head count in 2020 and the U.S. Census Bureau has requested help to ensure as many people as possible consent to be included. County Clerk Linda Fritz has been tasked with forming a five-person Complete Count Committee to promote the census and inform members of the community of the benefits it can bring to the area.

“They’re hoping they can get people involved in the committee who are well known, so that people trust them to be able to look out for their best interests with the census, and also to be able to reach out and engage people to be involved and be willing to be counted,” Fritz says.

“I’m trying to find representation from each area of the county, particularly the municipalities and up in the western corner of the state.”

Once the committee has been formed, a representative from the U.S. Census Bureau will provide a training lasting 90 minutes to two hours, which will give committee members the necessary information about the census and its effects.

“They will tell us exactly what it is that they would like us to do,” Fritz says.

The census is important, says Fritz, because an accurate population count can have surprising effects.

“The benefit of people participating in the 2020 census is that I believe, as your population increases, so too do your opportunities for funding,” she says.

“That is one reason you want to be counted in the census. It also determines how many representatives each state gets in Congress and is used to redraw district boundaries.”

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, businesses use census data to determine where to open places to shop, while communities use the information to plan for resident needs, such as new roads and emergency services.

Meanwhile, according to a 2017 study published by the George Washington Institute of Public Policy, $881,376,094 was distributed to Wyoming based on census numbers, including the total program obligations of the 16 largest federal assistance programs such as Medicare, Highway Planning and Construction and the National School Lunch Program.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, this breaks down to $1504 per capita in federal funding in Crook County, or around $3639 per household. Over the ten years between the upcoming census in 2020 and the next one in 2030, that equates to a loss of $36,397 in funding for every household missed by the census.

Locally, says Fritz, that can affect such things as how much funding is available to treat and maintain the county roads. It can also have an impact on state laws, such as how many liquor licenses available for a municipality

“There was someone in Pine Haven who was wanting to get a liquor license a while ago, but they couldn’t get one because they were five people short on the last census,” she points out.

“Otherwise they would have had one more license available.”

The Complete Count Committee will be tasked with creating a campaign to raise awareness of the census and increase the response rate, motivating every household to participate. The U.S. Census Bureau suggests committee members such as elected officials, city planners, heads of government agencies and departments, faith-based organization leaders, public school system leaders, corporate and small business leaders and advocacy organizations.

If you are interested in joining the committee, please contact Fritz at the County Clerk’s Office.


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