08/18/10 — More of county filled out forms for census

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More of county filled out forms for census

By Steve Herring
Published in News on August 18, 2010 1:46 PM

Mayor Al King Monday night said that he thinks a low 2000 Census count could have cost the county more than $8 million over the past 10 years.

And while there were some problems this year particularly counting Hispanic families and young black males, Wayne County residents for the most part responded well to the count said Janice Coley, a partnership specialist with the U.S. Census Bureau.

Countywide, 73 percent of the census forms were returned compared to a 64 percent response rate in 2000. Wayne topped the state average of 72 percent and was just short on the 74 percent national average.

The county could climb another 3 to 4 percent as Census workers do follow-ups.

Ms. Coley briefed the City Council on the board results at the board's Monday night work session and regular meeting. She did not have any specific numbers to discuss.

"You will be surprised at how well the county did on the mail return rate," she said. "You did quite well as a matter of fact. I know Dudley did well because that is why you did so well."

King called the results "critical" since the count factors into the federal dollars that the county receives.

"I know the last census that we got blown out of the water," he said. "We did not get a good count. I think the last time we were undercounted by at least 7,000."

King said the federal funds average out to be about $115 per person. Multiplying that figure by 7,000 (the possible undercount) by 10 years (the period between the counts) equals more than $8 million.

King said the 2000 count occurred shortly after Hurricane Floyd and the historic-level flooding it caused.

"A lot of people had flown the coop," King said.

Ms. Coley said census workers will revisit some residences in the county that might not have been occupied at the time of the count.

She praised the city for its efforts to promote the census and to encourage people to return the forms. Professional and dedicated census workers also were vital to the success of the count, she said.

Ms. Coley said nationwide census workers had been so efficient that $1.9 billion of the money budgeted for the count would be returned to the national treasury.

She said workers had gone to churches, barber shops, malls and other places to talk to people about the census and how it affects the money the county receives.

Waller and Mayor Pro-Tem Chuck Allen asked what happens to the 25 percent of the population that is not counted.

They cannot be accounted for, she said.

In other business, the council approved an annexation request and denied a rezoning petition.

City Manager Joe Huffman reminded council members that they already had approved a site plan for a day care on the area considered for contiguous annexation.

The 2.065 acres are currently vacant and located on the south side of Glenda's Drive between New Hope Road and North Park Dive.

The annexation is effective Aug. 31.

The council denied a request by Ernest Lofton for a conditional use permit to operate a "place of entertainment" with ABC permits. A beauty shop would also be located in the building.

The city Planning Commis-sion had approved the request, but deferred to the Council, Planning Director Randy Guthrie said.

Guthrie noted that the building was surrounded by a residential area and that there were churches nearby. He said the property did not meet ordinance requirements.

Lofton had sought the permit for a building on the east side of South Slocumb Street between East Elm and Eason streets.

The building had been used as a bar, but had been closed for several months, Guthrie said.

Allen's motion to deny the request was approved 5-2, with Don Chatman and Michael Headen voting against the motion.

The council met in closed session for 30 minutes during the work session to discuss potential litigation. There was no discussion or action taken when the council returned to open session.