Accurate census makes sense for villages

By on April 30, 2010

by Martha Quetsch
ELBURN, MP—Elburn and Maple Park officials want residents to stand up and be counted, by completing their 2010 U.S. Census forms.

Elburn Village President Dave Anderson said that the census is important locally for several reasons. One is that the village head count could require changes in village operations. Under state law, if Elburn has more than 5,000 residents, it will have to have an elected village clerk and establish a police commission.

In the past, the village president has appointed the village clerk annually, with the advice and consent of the board. For the past several years, Diane McQuilkin has held the position.

The three-member police commission would be appointed by the village president, with the advice and consent of the Village Board. The police commission would be responsible for hiring, promoting, disciplining and dismissing police officers. Currently, the Village Board makes those decisions.

The number of residents also determines state and federal government representation, Anderson said.

“Legislative districts (both federal and state) are set up, basically, by population,” he said.

An accurate count of village residents also is important to the village financially. Income- and sales-tax revenue that the village receives from the state is determined through an equation that factors in population established by the U.S. Census, Anderson said.

Accurate data reflecting changes in municipalities’ populations are crucial in deciding how more than $400 billion per year is allocated by the federal government for community projects such as roads and schools, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

The last time a head count took place in Elburn was in 2006, when a U.S. special census determined the village’s population was 4,696. Anderson believes the census may show that the village has grown to nearly 5,000.

“I think we will be very close,” Anderson said.

Maple Park had a special census done in 2007, showing that the village’s population was approximately 1,100, Village President Kathy Curtis said.

Curtis said each person counted represents approximately $100 in revenue per year for the village. She said it is crucial for Maple Park that its residents complete their census forms, because of the financial impact of a head count that is too low.

She said, for example, if Maple Park’s “population comes in at 1,000 with the 2010 census that is about $10,000 of lost revenue for the village.”

“We already know our population is marginally lower due to foreclosures in town,” Curtis said. “We can’t afford to forfeit revenue by not responding.”

On May 1, U.S. Census takers will begin going door-to-door to households that did not mail back their 2010 Census forms. They also will verify that housing units indicated as unoccupied by the postal service or other sources are indeed unoccupied and vacant.
The U.S. Census Bureau conducts a census every 10 years.