Census 2000 important to county’s future

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 11, 2000

Residents all over the county have been finding red and white plastic bags hanging from the door knobs of their homes for the past couple of weeks as workers for the United States Census Bureau have been delivering questionnaires for Census 2000.

Butler County Probate Judge MacDonald Russell said he encourages everyone to take a few minutes to fill out the questionnaires promptly because this will be the only opportunity to get an accurate count of the citizens in the county for the next 10 years.

"We need to get an accurate count of the people in the county because most of the state and federal money we receive is based on the figures generated by the census," Russell said. He continued , saying that the federal government only counts the population once per decade and it is important that the census reflect as close to the actual number of residents in the county as possible.

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"The federal government has been doing census reports since the constitution was enacted in the 1780s," Russell said. "These numbers also determine our representation in Washington so if we, as Alabamians, want our voice to be heard we need to let them know how many of us there are down here."

Russell said the census is only a minor inconvenience, which takes only a few minutes to complete, but he said failing to return the questionnaire promptly can have far reaching ramifications on the future of the county.

"The census does not represent an intrusion of government, and it doesn't lead to larger government, but it is responsible for the proper allocation of monies and representation," he said.

Anyone needing assistance with the questionnaire can receive help at the Butler County Courthouse on Tuesdays and Thursdays.