Leader Blues

Saturday, November 25, 2006

TOP STORY >>Cabot census winds down

IN SHORT: Over 50 percent of residents have been contacted for the city’s special census, which will mean millions more in state funding.

Leader staff writer

Enumerators with Cabot’s special census are fanned out in different areas across the city from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. until the early part of Decem-ber, doing their part in helping Cabot get a current population count.

The census began Nov. 2, and with one month needed to collect data, should be finished next month.

The city stands to gain $1.3 million in turnback funds from a special census. That is an annual gain of $305,000 starting in 2007, until the results of the 2010 regular census are released in 2011.

The figure is based on Metro-plan’s 2005 population estimate of 19,967 residents in Cabot.

“We’re on track,” Sue Bolsik, census office director, said. “It’s going really good, people are being cooperative.”
According to Bolsik, over 50 percent of Cabot residents have been contacted by enumerators, and they are still out knocking on doors. “It gets dark so early now and that makes it a little harder,” Bolsik said.

Once the data have all been collected, it will be sent to census offices in Indiana for processing.

It will take another two or three months for the data to be processed and the results certified, placing the completion of the census sometime in February or March. Once completed, the results will be sent back to Cabot.

The enumerators (census workers), all of which are identified by a badge from the U.S. Census Bureau that includes their name, are asking households a series of questions, taking a maximum of seven minutes of the residents’ time.

The census workers are using the U.S. Census Bureau’s short-form questionnaire, which has six population questions and one housing question.

The census will collect information such as age, gender, relationships within households, race and Hispanic origin, and whether the residents own or rent.

The special census will produce demographic detail for the Cabot population, including new housing and population that came into the area after Census 2000, which put Cabot’s population at 15,261.

Karen Davis, operations director for Cabot, said the city decided to hold a special census to determine its current population due to Metroplan’s current estimated population of 21,575.

“It’s a huge jump in six years. We knew we had a growth in population from our school enrollment and building permit in-crease,” Davis said.

Information from individual household questionnaires is summarized into neighborhood and community-level data that can be used to plan for and seek funding for vital community needs.

A certified, official population increase resulting from the special census may produce an increase in state revenue sharing or other benefits.

The additional state turnback funds, money off gas taxes based on population, should start coming in sometime after the census is completed, Davis said.

Of the money received from the census, Davis said 75 percent would go to the city’s general fund – police and fire departments, and public works; the remaining 25 percent would go in the city’s street fund to help repair the damage done due to the strain of increased population.