We talk a lot about funding – funding for education, health care, transportation and other needs. Proper funding is critical to making Claremore a great place to live, work and relax. Funding allocation for a state is based off the U.S. Census, which has been mandated by the U.S. Constitution since 1790. It takes place every 10 years and gives a snapshot of the community. Completing the Census is easy and it’s not political – it simply counts people so that the federal government can properly distribute money to the right areas.
For areas that are considered more rural – like Claremore and Rogers County – it’s especially important that we do our part to secure our funding to maintain critical programs and infrastructure. Even lunch programs for both the elderly and our students rely on U.S. Census numbers to allocate funding.
For every one person that goes uncounted in Oklahoma, the state loses approximately $1,700 each year. Over a 10-year period that equates to $17,000 in lost funding. And that’s just one person – what if an entire household fails to fill out their U.S. Census forms? Think about what could be done with that money to help make our community stronger.
In addition to funding, the U.S. Census is also used to determine the number of seats each state has in the United States House of Representatives and assists in determining electoral districts. Therefore, your participation in the Census is just as important as voting!
I know there are concerns about what occurs with the information gathered in the Census. By law, the information must be kept confidential and used for the aforementioned activities – not for other means.
Due to challenges presented by COVID-19, the deadline for Census submission has been a moving target. Although a federal judge has ordered the Census to continue until the end of October, the United States Department of Commerce has announced a target date of October 5 to conclude acceptance of individual census responses. I am asking you to help Claremore and Rogers County by filling out your forms before Monday’s potential deadline. Please visit www.2020census.gov for additional information.
You may have noticed this column came a week early – I wanted to share the information about the Census and get the word out about its importance to our community and the state of Oklahoma. This biweekly column is meant to highlight the important aspects, initiatives and programs taking place in Claremore and give a little glimpse into city government.
I continue to welcome your feedback and ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org about ways to improve our wonderful community.
Enjoy this week!
John Feary is the acting city manager for the city of Claremore.