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Local officials pleased with Census count
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The Liberty County Complete Count Committee met Tuesday to discuss the final results of Liberty County’s 2010 Census.
The committee was formed to recruit area organization and business leaders to stress to residents the importance of being counted in the census, which only happens every ten years.  
According to final results, Liberty County’s mail-back response rate increased by 20 percent from 2000 to 2010, said Kathy Poole, director of the Census Awareness Campaign.
Nationally, the response rate stayed the same for both years — 72 percent.
Poole credits the local jump to the dedication of city mayors and volunteers, who organized and ran more than 40 Census awareness events in the county.
The 59 percent response rate from residents in 2000 had city and county officials nervous at first and uncertain how much their efforts would help.
Poole said she was concerned about getting the facts straight with U.S. Census Bureau employees regarding who should be counted under Liberty County.
The Complete Count Committee was told deployed soldiers from Fort Stewart would count, but in the end, that was not the case, the director said.
“We were led to believe that deployed soldiers would count for us,” Poole said.
She recommends future census committees obtain policies in writing from the U.S. Census Bureau.
“Make sure we’re getting facts and not assumptions,” she said.
Poole handed out thank you certificates to various organizations, including a social sorority house based out of Hinesville, and other community members.
Committee members also received frosted hand-shaped cookies to symbolize the “helping hands” they lent during the census.
Census information binders were handed out to the mayors of each Liberty County municipality. The packets contained advertisements, facts, figures and suggestions regarding which tactics elicited higher response rates in each area.
Liberty County officials and Poole say they hope the binders will be used as a reference for the 2020 census.
Liberty County Commission Chairman John McIver thanked Poole and gave her a plague in recognition of her work in organizing census awareness events since July 2009.
“I know we are pleased that Liberty County was well represented,” McIver said.
 “When 2020 comes, we want to do even better next time. And we want to take what we did this time and build upon it and do a much greater job,” Assistant County Administrator Bob Sprinkel said. “And Kathy has my vote to take charge next time.”

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