With the clock ticking away toward Census Day on April 1, the Winchester/Franklin County Census 2020 Committee is striving to get word out about how important it is to have all residents counted and included in the nation’s population totals.
The committee met Tuesday to further formulate its plan of attack in the coming weeks leading up to Census Day to get as many residents counted as possible.
Census Day is observed nationwide. Every home will receive an invitation to participate in the 2020 census. Once invitations arrive, residents should respond about their homes in one of three ways — online, by phone or by mail.
Yvonne Stewart, Winchester special projects coordinator and a committee member, said it is paramount that the population be accurately counted because Franklin County and its cities receive government funding based on the population.
She referred to the 2010 census and estimates are that the recorded population total was less that it should have been with about 70 percent of the actual inhabitants being counted.
Stewart said Franklin County is believed to have lost $1 million annually and $10 million for the entire decade leading up to the 2020 census.
“Right now, what we’re trying to do is get the word out about getting a 100 percent return on the census in Franklin County,” she said.
Stewart said Tennessee as a whole has traditionally come up in census tallies.
She said anyone in the area for six months or longer can be recorded in Franklin County’s census totals.
Residents with newborn children need to ensure they are included in the totals, and those who have second homes, such as lakefront property, and remain in the area six months out of the year should fill out the census forms for Franklin County.
Stewart said Delinda McDonald, who handles attendance and public relations issues for the Franklin County School System, is committed to getting word out through students to their parents about how important the census is so that an accurate count can be made.
She said funding for educational and other programs that trickles down from the federal level is based on population totals.
In addition to the Census Day initiative, in April, census takers will begin visiting college students who live on campuses, people living in senior centers and others who live among large groups of people.
In May, the Census Bureau will begin visiting homes that haven’t responded to make sure everyone is counted.
The completed U.S. census report must be on President Donald Trump’s desk by Dec. 31, which means 330 million people nationwide will be counted during the process.
Stewart said the census effort needs employees to do the counting, and further information can be obtained by calling 1-855-572-2020.
The Franklin County Library, 105 S. Porter St., Winchester, will be open on Monday where those seeking Census jobs can apply by using the library's computers. Although Monday is a holiday, the library will be open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Stewart said census jobs pay $14 per hour, and the mileage rate is 58 cents per mile.
Area government officials have stressed the importance of filling out 2020 census data to help increase per capita federal and state funding by appropriating money to promote the counting effort through an advertising and information campaign.
Franklin County has agreed to chip in $4,000.
Cowan City Councilman William Anderson, who is also on the Census 2020 Committee, recently said a goal is to have Franklin County’s larger cities, Winchester and Decherd, contribute $1,500 each with the smaller cities chipping in $1,000.