A change in the 2020 Census could lead to significant benefits for Liberty County.
According to a memo released by the U. S. Census Bureau, military personnel deployed overseas will be counted as residents of the bases, posts or ports they were assigned. In the 2010 Census, deployed personnel were counted at the address they provided at enlistment.
“I am pleased that the old methodology has finally changed,” County Administrator Joey Brown said. “So many things are affected by Census numbers including grant apportionments, expenditure distributions, revenue allotments, and economic development decisions. I am sure that this will be a definite benefit to our local area in the long haul.”
Liberty Consolidated Planning Commission Executive Director Jeff Ricketson said city and county officials have lobbied hard for the change since 2000.
“We believe that in the last Census (2010) we were undercounted by as much as 10 percent,” Ricketson said. “If we added those 7,000 people to our population, we go from 63,000 to 70,000 and pushes us up to the next threshold.”
Ricketson said population thresholds are a big portion of the criteria when requesting state and federal assistance, community development block grants, transportation funding and several other projects.
“Most funding is based on population. The higher the population the higher proportion of funding we would get,” he said.
County commissioner Chairman Donald Lovette said Assistant County Administrator Bob Sprinkel deserved credit for spearheading lobbying.
“I am pleased that the Census Bureau has finally relented to the request to count deployed troops at their home base,” he said. “As we all know the troops utilize local government services provided by limited local resources. For qualifying communities having the access to additional funds will help to offset the cost of those services provided by the local government.”