Wiregrass counties teaming up to keep representation and federal funds

Published: Jan. 9, 2020 at 5:25 PM CST
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The state is in danger of losing money and representation if Alabamians don't complete the 2020 census.

In 2010, Houston and Geneva County census participation rates were both at 73%. Henry County was 59%.

To match Governor Kay Ivey's 90% census return rate goal, the three counties are teaming up to do their parts.

Officials say this type of partnership is rare.

“They don't happen practically anywhere, but there was an issue here. We sat around a coffee pot and within twenty minutes there was this partnership and this plan and this commitment to make this a different round for us in 2020,” says Wiregrass Foundation president Barbara Alford.

Low census participation could mean losing a congressional seat and funds to help the community.

“It's very important that we get a count for everyone because the money that comes back to us goes into Medicaid and Medicare. It goes into road transportation. It goes into healthy lunches. It affects all of us everybody has a stake in this census,” says census coordinator Lori Wilcoxon.

Each census count equates to about $1,600 in federal funding for the state and Wiregrass.

“We don't want to have to spend the next ten years using our money or your money to stand in the gap for federal funding for what we have lost,” says Alford.

The ten-question survey can even be completed online.

“Then the census won't bother you again for ten years, but our results we'll have to live with for ten years,” says Wilcoxon.

The survey is available starting April 1st. Officials say taking ten minutes to complete it can make a huge impact for the decade to come.

“The census tells us who we are and where we are going as a nation and helps our communities to determine where to build everything from schools to supermarkets and from homes to hospitals,” says Dothan Area Chamber of Commerce chairman Cliff Mendheim.

If you don't respond by May you can expect a knock at the door.

Officials are asking everyone to take part in the census campaign.

If you are interested in volunteering you can contact Wilcoxon at