Census will be offered online

Published 4:06 am Saturday, June 8, 2019

Qiana Wiggins with the U.S. Census Bureau told the Bogalusa City Council on Tuesday that the nation-wide survey in 2020 will be a major undertaking, and urged for everyone to help get the word out about the census’ importance.

The U.S. Census has been conducted every 10 years since 1790, as is required by the U.S. Constitution in Article I, Section 2. The census determines the allocation of how many members of the House of Representatives each state receives, and also how much funding each state will receive over the next 10 years. A total of more than $4 trillion will be distributed to state and local governments over the 10 years that the 2020 Census results are used to determine funding levels.

Some of the largest census-guided federal programs include Medicaid, highway planning and construction, the National School Lunch Program, and Head Start.

“We need (as much participation as we can get) so that we can all get our fair share,” said Wiggins, a partnership specialist for the U.S. Census Bureau, during Tuesday’s council meeting.

It is estimated that Washington Parish’s participation level in both the 2000 and 2010 Census cycles was a little more than 60 percent.

One change in 2020 is that Americans will be able to take the census online with any phone or computer, for the first time in history. In fact, Wiggins noted that the online method would be the government-recommended first option for all Americans. Telephone calls and paper forms will still be accepted, but the government is asking for as many Americans to take the census online as possible.

Wiggins said that residents would be notified by mail in March of 2020, about the proper way to take the census online. Each citizen will be given a unique password and username, and directed to the proper web address where to take the census.

She noted that census takers would begin making door-to-door visits starting April 3, 2020, for residents who had not already taken the census online. In addition, residents will be told about how to contact census representatives to answer the questions over the phone, if they prefer that method.

Wiggins said that privacy is a key facet of the U.S. Census process. At no point will any mail be received containing a private citizen’s name — all correspondence will list a mailing address and the word “Resident.”

In addition, the census will never ask for a Social Security number; ask for money or a donation; make any request on behalf of a political party; nor request PIN numbers, passwords or other information for banks, credit cards or other financial accounts.

Wiggins also noted that jobs would be available for those who can assist with the 2020 Census. The pay rate will be $15.50 per hour, and mileage may be available for some workers.

For more information about census jobs, visit online at www.2020census.gov/jobs.

In other business, the council:

  • Approved four resolutions by unanimous 7-0 votes. The resolutions were: for the 2020 U.S. Census Complete Count Committee; to designate the Bogalusa Daily News as the official municipal journal; to establish a three-member subcommittee in order to research, develop and review applicable data, documents, instructions and forms pertaining to the “sale of adjudicated properties to adjoining landowners $1 program;” and to adopt the Louisiana Compliance Questionnaire as a required part of the city’s annual audit.
  • Heard from Mayor Wendy Perrette, who said that state fiscal administrator Joey Richard was ready to work with the city to address its budgetary shortfalls.

She said that Richard would not necessarily visit Bogalusa every day, and that much of his work could be done over the telephone or by computer in his regular office. She said this would allow the city to save money, as Richard’s work would cost more if it was all done on-site in Bogalusa.

  • Heard from Fire Chief Richard Moody and Police Chief Kendall Bullen, who gave reports for the month of May.

Moody said that the Bogalusa Fire Department responded to 110 calls in May — three structure fires, three grass fires, four vehicle fires, two motor-vehicle accidents, four false alarms, 11 service calls, 79 medical calls, and four hazmat/power line calls.

Bullen said that the Bogalusa Police Department responded to 1,208 complaints, made 207 arrests (84 misdemeanors, 18 felonies, 105 traffic-related), responded to 36 accidents, provided six escorts and responded to one DWI.

  • Heard from city council member Kenny Kellis, who noted that Tuesday was the 11th meeting of the most recently elected council, and all 11 meetings had a quorum.

Kellis said he felt the new council had already made some strides, and even better things are on the horizon.

“We’re going to make this city magic again,” he said.

The next meeting of the Bogalusa City Council will be Tuesday, June 18, at 5:30 p.m.