MARICOPA — The first Complete Count Committee training for the 2020 U.S. Census took place in Maricopa to help ensure the accuracy of the city’s census count.
The U.S. Census, which takes place every 10 years, is vital to cities such as Maricopa to understand their population growth and to obtain funds to support future development.
CCC is a city-run group of volunteers that will initiate outreach to the community in support of the census. The goal is to engage the community and reach as many people as possible, including those in the hard-to-count areas. Though the census does not officially go live until March 23, the CCC will plan accordingly to reach out to the community leaders to share the importance of the census.
Maricopa Intergovernmental Affairs Director Dale Wiebusch is taking on the role of city census director and hopes to achieve a very accurate census count with the help of members of the CCC.
“My intention was that, you’re sort of like the inner core,” Wiebusch said to those who attended the CCC training meeting on Thursday afternoon. “In about a month I’m hoping more people enlist in the activity, and determine what kind of schedule we need to undertake at this point in time. From there we can generate the initial plan.”
The CCC will also partner with the Maricopa Association of Governments on the census to provide a thorough outreach program, including media buys.
Maricopa Mayor Christian Price also elaborated on the importance of the census for the people and for the city.
“If we don’t get an accurate count, we lose federal dollars, which in turn means that we simply don’t have enough money to provide services that are necessary for the community,” Price said.
Services such as the fire department, roads and side streets are just a few that may expand due to the census count. Price said to have the accurate count means to provide services that will ensure the safety and well-being of the community.
“You guys have the ability to get this message out. You all have networks that I don’t have,” Price said.
A factor that will affect the city directly through the census is its future of economic development, as it will let business owners know how much the population has grown to encourage them to come to the city.
“It’s always important from an economic development standpoint,” Price said. “The business owners want to know they’re going to make money by knowing the accurate count as well as the growth of the population.”
The members talked about the Heritage District and other low-income areas because they are projected to be the hard-to-count areas of the city. Though there may be a few bumps in the road, Wiebusch is eager to reach all communities in Maricopa to ensure the overall count.
Other attendees spoke on the criteria that the members of the CCC should have to create a secure plan.
“I think people living in Maricopa is vital,” said Pat Lairson, an agent with Maricopa Real Estate Company. “Maricopa is such a different city in general than any other places I have lived.”