I guess this would be the 3rd national census in my lifetime that I personally would have been old enough to pay attention to and I have to say that I don’t ever remember such a heavy advertising campaign before — of course I don’t ever remember the economy ever being this bad either and with access to federal dollars at stake it’s no wonder that the race for cash is on.
Even in City Manager circles the census world has historically been left to folks with little fashion sense, thick glasses and pocket calculators to extrapolate and masticate over while the rest of us were busy attending to matters in the real world. Well, guess what, the winds of change have blown that out the window. It’s a new day and when it comes to the census it’s hip to be square. It’s now a matter of civic duty. Do it for the children. It’s farm aid in 2010.
I’m not saying filling out the form may not be a little boring but in these troubled economic times it’s a price worth paying and it really is an important message: everyone counts. It’s Dr. Suess’s littlest who down in whoville that has to be heard. Make yourself count, fill out the form, be heard. Get up, Stand up.
One of the shining star employees on the City staff is Bridget Susel. She practices alchemy turning lead into gold — aka she’s our City grant writer. She’s the City’s official prospector mining the state and federal hills for those golden nuggets and with all the stimulus dollars being discovered these days it feels a lot like being in the Yukon in the late 1800s.
Bridget’s track record for bringing grant dollars into the City speaks for itself and because of that she’s become our City version of EF Hutton — when she talks, we all listen. Last week she talked, sending around a note to all City employees urging them to fill out the census and I listened. And at the risk of repeating a message you may have heard already I’d say take a minute to read Bridget’s note, then take 5 more minutes to fill out your census form. It will be the fastest $10,000 you’ll ever make for your community.
2010 is a decennial census year and the U.S. Census Bureau is currently mailing out surveys to households across the country. I wanted to take a moment to encourage all of you to take a few minutes to complete and return your census survey. Many of you are aware that the census plays a role in determining congressional representation, but the census also plays a primary role in determining federal funding levels for many critical grant-funded programs that support needed services in the community. Information gathered through the census with regards to population, household income, and even the age of the housing stock, is used to determine funding levels for many grant programs in the City of Kent and in Portage County. This federal funding supports a myriad of programs and services that cannot be adequately funded with limited local tax dollars, including affordable housing initiatives, crime prevention, public improvements, employment training, and supportive services for those most in need in the community.
My job here at the City requires me to work closely with representatives from many nonprofit and government agencies and I keep hearing about funding cuts and limited budgets at a time when the needs of many are increasing as individuals struggle to support families and keep their homes. All of us are fortunate to have good jobs during these challenging times and while we cannot assist everyone in need, we can make sure the maximum amount of federal funding is made available in our community by taking the time to complete the census survey.
I will get off of my soap box now, but I hope this e-mail will encourage you to take the time to complete your census form when it arrives in your mailbox. Every completed and submitted census survey equates to approximately $10,000 in federal grant support coming into our community over the next 10 years and it would be unfortunate to lose any of that funding because we couldn’t find the time to complete our census survey.
Bridget O. Susel
Grants & Neighborhood Programs Administrator
City of Kent Community Development Department
930 Overholt Rd., Kent OH 44240