April 23, 2009 in Washington Voices

Census official seeks city’s help promoting count

Population numbers impact funding, representation
By The Spokesman-Review
 

Coming up

The next Medical Lake City Council meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. on May 5.

A representative from the U.S. Census Bureau spoke before the Medical Lake City Council on Tuesday night to ask for support in promoting the importance of the census.

“We cannot get a complete count without your help,” said Duane Wakan, a partnership specialist with the bureau.

The census takes place next year and Wakan emphasized that the figures received from the census will help determine how much money the city will receive in coming years.

Wakan also said that the census helps promote democracy, since population numbers determine how many representatives a population has in local, state and federal offices.

In 2000, the bureau had a 67 percent response rate.

“We should be able to improve on that,” Wakan told the council.

He said this year’s form is easier – it’s only 10 questions. He also said that filling out the form is safe. Each employee of the bureau must take an oath for life to protect everyone’s personal information. If not, they face up to five years in jail and a $250,000 fine. No other agency can have access to the information.

The council was eager to help get the word out about the census. Council member Shirley Maike asked Wakan to come to the city’s Founder’s Day celebration in June. Council member Howard Jorgenson said the city could send reminders to its residents in the water bills.

In other council news, Doug Ross, city administrator, told the council construction should begin soon on the new gazebo in Pioneer Park. The parts were received last year, but the weather is just now cooperating with construction.

“Traditionally, that park is wet for a great deal of the spring,” Ross said.

The council also agreed to receive Washington State Transportation Improvement Board funds to completely reconstruct three blocks of Prentis Street from Lake to Campbell streets.

The funds are a grant from the state’s fuel tax. Medical Lake will receive $494,912 for the project and will contribute $156,288 in matching funds.


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