GRADY COUNTY COMMISSION Chairwoman LaFaye Copeland executes a joint resolution of the county and the cities of Cairo and Whigham in support of the Complete Count Committee for the U.S. 2020 Census. Whigham Mayor George Trulock, left, and Cairo Mayor Booker Gainor also signed the resolution Tuesday night. Looking on is Thad Wright of the U.S. Census.
The Grady County Commission along with the cities of Cairo and Whigham are joining forces to make sure a complete and accurate count of the residents of Grady County is included in the upcoming 2020 United States Census.
On Tuesday night, Grady County Commission Chairwoman LaFaye Copeland, Cairo Mayor Booker Gainor and Whigham Mayor George Trulock executed a joint resolution to establish a Complete Count Committee and go on record in support of the committee’s campaign to obtain 100 percent participation in the Census.
U.S. Census Partnership Specialist Thad Wright appeared before the county commission Tuesday night to make a brief presentation to the commission. According to Wright, the 2020 Census will be the first one where residents are asked to fill out Census data online. According to Wright, the goal of the federal government is to go completely paperless with the Census by 2030.
In 2010, Wright says, 29 percent of local residents did not have internet or only had dial-up internet service, which would make online participation in the Census challenging.
In order to get a complete and accurate count, Wright said a Complete Count Committee would be vital.
According to Wright, for every 1,000 people not counted the projected cost to the state of Georgia in federal funding and federal grants would be $15.8 million. Locally, if a family of five is not counted that results in $100,000 in lost funding or about $2,000 annually for 10 years for each local resident who is not counted in the Census.
Wright said that residents should not be concerned with answering the nine Census questions and said that all responses are kept confidential for 72 years.
Grady County clerk John White, who is spearheading the Complete Count Committee organization on behalf of the county, said that 200 to 250 people involved in the committee’s work would be needed in order to reach out to all aspects of the community.
“A lot of people do not realize what is at stake,” Commissioner Ray Prince commented.
A group of local residents interested in participating in the Complete Count Committee effort attended a meeting at Roddenbery Memorial Library Monday. A crowd of approximately 40 was in attendance and Commission Chair LaFaye Copeland said that a representative of all ethnic and racial groups, with the exception of Native American, was represented.
Wright said that some campaign materials could be provided through the Census Bureau, but local officials said contact and outreach from individuals in the community who residents know and trust is who will have the greatest impact on participation and accuracy of the 2020 Census.
Grady County administrator J.C. (Buddy) Johnson III, thanked County clerk White for his work on behalf of the county in organizing the recent Census meetings and coordinating the formation of the Complete Count Committee, which will be known as “Grady Counts.”