Leader Blues

Sunday, December 17, 2006

TOP STORY >>Cabot population at 22,000

IN SHORT: The city will receive an additional $55.30 for each of the estimated 8,000 residents who have moved in since 2000 census.

BY JOAN MCCOY
Leader staff writer

The census workers who have been making their rounds all over Cabot for more than a month have almost completed their work.

“We’re finishing up. Two or three days next week, and it’s going to be over,” Viola Richard, a census clerk told The Leader on Friday.

Although the tally will not be known for two or three months after the counting is completed, the number of people now living in Cabot has been estimated at 22,000.

After all the data has been processed and the results turned over to the state, Cabot should begin receiving, in late winter or early spring, additional state turnback money for each of the 8,000 or so residents who has moved in since the 2000 census. At $55.30 for each, the increase in state turnback could be almost $373,000.

Of that amount, $297,000 would be earmarked by state law for the street fund to be used in the street department. The balance, about $75,000 a year, would go to the general fund which pays such expenses as salaries for city hall staff and to help run police, fire and parks.

The city council approved paying for the special census during the July council meeting. Alderman Eddie Cook was concerned that the cost might be more than the $276,546 they approved because the cost is based on the number of people counted.
The Census Bureau based its price to the city on a population estimate of 19,600.

If the 22,000 estimate is correct, the city will have to pay an additional $33,600 because the cost is based on the count at about $14 per person.

So far the census has cost the city $165,550 which was paid to the U.S. Census Bureau in July plus the salaries of the census workers, which are paid weekly from the city’s general fund. The city had to set aside $110,996 to pay the workers.
City Clerk Marva Verkler and Finance Director Dale Walker discussed the census briefly during a budget meeting in late November.

They said the general fund would not realize much of a gain because at only $75,000 a year, it would take four years to repay the general fund money that was spent to conduct the census.

The real gain would go to the street fund which can’t be used for expenses not related to streets.