Census 2010 kicks off in Lowndes County - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Census 2010 kicks off in Lowndes County

By Jade Bulecza - bio | email

VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) –National Census Day is April 1st, the day by which the government hopes you'll mail in your census form.

It may sound like a long time away, but the Census committee in Lowndes County is already educating the community about the importance of being counted.

No matter your age, it's important to get counted says the committee. On Monday, the community, business and government leaders and the Census committee kicked off the 2010 census.

"People paying taxes anywhere in the United States, those dollars can trickle down right here to Valdosta and Lowndes County in the form of health care, education, and transportation," said Sam Allen, retired Valdosta City Schools Superintendent.  

Valdosta and Lowndes County attained Metropolitan status during the last census almost 10 years ago, and the Valdosta-Lowndes Chamber of Commerce says it's essential to keep that.

"It's what industries look at when they're considering expansion or even moving to our area," said Jeff Hanson, Valdosta-Lowndes County Chamber of Commerce Chairman. "A lot of the retail establishments look at that. From restaurants to retail stores, it drives so much of our local sales tax dollars."

More than $400 billion in federal funds is awarded to state and communities based on census data each year.

The count also determines representation in congress and state legislature.

"These will also be the numbers used to draw districts for local elected officials like city council, county commissions and school boards," said Rep. Ellis Black.  

For those who may have a lack of trust in government and who are apprehensive to participate, the census officials say it's safe.

"No one not even the President of the United States is able to get that information," said Fer-Rell M. Malone Sr., U.S. Census Bureau Partnership Specialist.

Census forms go out the second week in March and should be returned by April 1, 2010. It's 10 questions and officials say it only takes 10 minutes.

The census bureau will begin hiring field reps next month. To find out more, click here

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