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Auburn, Placer census raising concerns over low tally

Undercount could result in fewer federal dollars flowing to transportation, school projects PLUS: The 10 Questions
By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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With 2010 census packages due to be delivered to every household in the nation starting mid-month, concern is mounting that Placer and surrounding counties may lose out in the count. A projected $38 billion in federal funding is tied to census totals in the six-county area surrounding Auburn over the next decade. But if the count is lower than the actual total number of residents, Auburn and the surrounding Sacramento region could end up with less than its share. Auburn City Councilman Kevin Hanley is working with the Sacramento Area Council of Governments to get the word out to residents about the importance of filling out the census form. Census Day is April 1. If just 1 percent of people in the six-county region aren’t counted, the council of governments estimates the area will lose $380 million in funding during the next decade. That’s $17,000 for every man, woman or child not counted over 10 years. The council takes in Sutter, Yuba, Placer, El Dorado, Yolo and Sacramento counties. Hanley said the Auburn area has historically had good turn-in rates on census questionnaires. But, overall, there are problems – with Sacramento County one of the 10 hardest-to-count places in the country. The Kings Beach-Tahoe Vista area at Lake Tahoe and Sheridan, located in the northwest portion of the county, were identified as Placer’s hardest-to-count areas in the last census. “Most people get it in the mail and fill it out,” he said. “It’s important because some of the housing and transportation funding is based on population.” Also important is getting a correct count to reflect growth in the area over the past 10 years that will be used to realign congressional and other districts for the next decade, Hanley said. “It’s too important for anyone to not be counted,” he said. The census questionnaire comes in a postage-paid return envelope. There are 10 questions to answer and the form is intended to be filled out in 10 minutes or less. Households that don’t return the form will be visited in-person by census takers. By law, the Census Bureau can’t share respondents’ answers with state, local or federal agencies, including the FBI, IRS or immigration. Forms will also be available in the Auburn area at the Auburn Library, 350 Nevada St., the Auburn One-Stop Career Center, 1919 Grass Valley Highway No. 400, and the Auburn Senior Center, 11577 E Ave. Barbara Crowell, senior center director, said Monday the facility is expecting a batch of questionnaires as early as this week. The center had been asked if it could serve as a questionnaire assistance center but had declined because it is in the midst of tax season, with its free tax service for moderate- to low-income earners, she said. “But people can fill out the forms and then drop them off here in a box,” Crowell said. ----------------------------------------- Questions on the census form 1. How many people were living or staying in this house, apartment, or mobile home on April 1, 2010? 2. Were there any additional people staying here April 1, 2010 that you did not include in Question 1? 3. Is this house, apartment, or mobile home: owned with mortgage, owned without mortgage, rented, occupied without rent? 4. What is your telephone number? 5. Please provide information for each person living here. Start with a person here who owns or rents this house, apartment, or mobile home. If the owner or renter lives somewhere else, start with any adult living here. This will be Person 1. What is Person 1’s name? 6. What is Person 1’s sex? 7. What is Person 1’s age and Date of Birth? 8. Is Person 1 of Hispanic, Latino or Spanish origin? 9. What is Person 1’s race? 10. Does Person 1 sometimes live or stay somewhere else?