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Moline prepares for census count

Moline prepares for census count

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Moline is gearing up for the 2020 Census, trying to make sure every possible resident is counted. 

Accurate population counts can mean more federal funds for states and municipalities and determines how many seats in Congress each state receives. City officials stressed the need to make sure every effort is made for full participation in the census. 

During Tuesday's committee of the whole meeting, Interim City Administrator J.D. Schulte said the Moline Public Library will help communicate the importance of the census and how the government distributes $675 billion in funds to states. 

"That's real money with how those allocations get distributed," Schulte said. "It is very, very important that every opportunity Moline has to get our residents counted is put out in front of them. We need to make sure people get reminded."

According to the United States Census Bureau, paper ballots will be mailed to households in mid March. Residents can respond one of three ways: by paper ballot; online; or by phone. Households will have until April 1 to respond, but census workers will work through August contacting non-responsive households.

Updated population counts will be sent to the president Dec. 31. Redistricting data will be sent to all 50 states by March 31.

Moline Mayor Stephanie Acri said the city has formed a Complete Count Committee to help ensure residents understand the value of participating in the census. She said committee members will help focus on difficult-to-count neighborhoods. 

Acric said the most difficult-to-count area is the Floreciente neighborhood between 1st Street and 10th Street and River Drive and 7th Avenue. 

"Other individuals difficult to count are young children, racial and ethnic minorities, non-English speakers, low-income persons and persons who distrust government," Acri said. "When you see us doing outreach in the community, we are trying to focus on those groups."

Schulte said the city is using mobile billboards of the "We Count" census logo on sanitation trucks and other city vehicles to get the word out. He said some logos also will be translated into Spanish. 

"We travel past 15,800 homes each week in the community," he said. 

Alderman At-Large Sonia Berg suggested the "We Count" logo and other census materials should be translated into French considering the number of Togolese immigrants living in the area, whose native language is French. 

"There are efforts that are specific to our immigrant population and the organizations that lead on that," Acri said. "There are also specific efforts for our homeless and all sorts of programming established to address those specific needs. 

"People who are in nursing homes and college; there are different population issues."

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