Can you believe that it’s already March? We’re so busy making good things happen for City of South Fulton residents we’ve lost track of time.
But, March means the official launch of the 2020 Census – one of the most important projects for our city – is just days away. In fact, you should receive a letter between March 12 and March 20 with details on how to complete the census.
I’m on a mission to get every single resident counted. Why is it so important? There are plenty of reasons.
First, it’s the law. The U.S. Constitution mandates a population count to happen every 10 years. Everyone residing in the U.S. gets counted in the census – children, seniors, minorities, immigrants, tribal communities, homeless, homeowners, renters, students, workers – everyone.
The census helps provide fair representation. Data is used to determine Congressional district lines as well as shape districts for state and county governments, school boards and other legislative bodies.
Let’s talk about money. Federal officials use census data to distribute more than $1.5 trillion in funding. That means the more people we have counted in South Fulton, the more money we received to provide services such as roads and other infrastructure, public safety, healthcare, the Arts and others.
Businesses and developers rely heavily on census information when choosing where to open new facilities, expand existing ones, offer new services, build homes or revitalize neighborhoods.
We in government study census numbers when deciding where to place new roads or public transportation routes. They also tell us where to construct libraries, schools, and parks.
By now, it should be obvious why you need to be counted. Let’s talk a little bit about how. Many people think the process is complicated and takes a long time. Truth is, it’s really easy.
This is the first time residents can complete the census online. You’ll receive a census packet in the mail including your personal code and a web address. Simply enter the code and you’re ready to enter your information. You also can participate by phone through the number included in your census packet or by mail through the enclosed form.
Mailed census forms will be printed in English and Spanish and the online questionnaire will be available in 13 languages. Telephone assistance will be available in 13 languages as well.
I know you’re wondering just how safe the census process really is. It’s about as secure as it gets. The U.S. Census Bureau is legally bound to keep all data confidential. Your answers will not be shared with anyone or any government agency. Individual information won’t even be available.
Only combined data will be used by region or city. Census Bureau staff members take a lifetime oath to protect your personal information. Any violation comes with penalties of up to $250,000 in fines and up to five years in prison.
Need more information? Visit one of the following websites.
- U.S. Census Bureau – 2020census.gov
- State of Georgia – census.georgia.gov
- Fulton County – fultoncountyga.gov/census2020
- City of South Fulton – cityofsouthfultonga.gov/2680/COSF-Counts-2020
So, participating in the census is easy and secure. It ensures fair representation and more federal dollars for the City of South Fulton. I know I will stand up and be counted. Will you join me?
William “Bill” Edwards is the City of South Fulton’s mayor and a former Fulton County commissioner.