February 27, 2020

Au Gres gets head start on 2020 Census.

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AU GRES— The 2020 Census is set to begin April 1 and Au Gres has already run a list of every residential household, coming up with a rough census of 890 people. Au Gres City Manager Dale Wiltse said “I felt we were shorted 10 years ago. In this area, every person who is counted equals to $1,800 per year. If we don’t get a proper count, we lose $1,800 per person for 10 years.”

The census is taken every 10 years to count how many residents are in each area. This count helps the federal government know how to distribute funds to different programs in that area. 

According to Wiltse, federal funding includes Medicare, Medicaid, WIC, school lunches, highways, housing, foster care, emergency services, and many other services that could be used to benefit the community.

“In Au Gres, if we miss 10 people, that’s $18,000 a year we won’t get and $180,000 per person for 10 years,” said Wiltse. “Michigan as a whole is losing population. We could lose federal representation if we don’t have a good enough count,” said Wiltse. 

According to the census government website, the results of the count determine how many seats each state will have in the U.S. House of Representatives. 

“I take it seriously,” said Wiltse. “We have so many people who go south for the winter. We feel we lost a large number of people, around 30-50.” Wiltse said many people feel if they are in Florida by the time the census comes out in April, they have to list Florida as their main residence, even if they are in Michigan more often. 

“You can put Florida in as a rented house, but not a true residency,” said Wiltse. Residents who have homesteads here and are registered to vote or have Michigan addresses on their drivers licenses should list Michigan as their true residence, said Wiltse. 

This year, the census will be doing most of the counts through mailings or the internet. “Most municipalities will set up designated census centers for residents who don't have access to computers to use,” said Wiltse. 

Wiltse also said the Census Bureau is looking for census takers. “They changed it so if you are from Arenac County, you will be assigned to Arenac County,” said Wiltse. They are part-time positions and you can make your own hours. Wiltse said you can visit the Census website to apply. 

“On the negative side, people are against the census because they feel the government gets too much information,” said Wiltse. “That information cannot be used anyplace else but the census and can’t be given to any government agencies.”

According to the census government website, the Bureau will never ask for a social security number, money, bank account information, or credit card numbers. If there is a door-door- census taker, they will have a valid ID badge with a photograph, the U.S. Department of Commerce watermark, and an expiration date. 

“We need it to bring those needed funds to the community,” said Wiltse.

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