(KCPW News) Utah’s Complete Count Committee met for the first time this morning to prepare for the 2010 Census and encourage participation. Governor Gary Herbert says the committee’s work is very important, because millions of dollars in federal funds and a fourth Congressional seat hang in the balance.
“Everybody deserves to be counted, everybody deserves to have a voice,” Herbert says. “That comes through representation, by we the elected officials representing a certain number of constituency, not only here in our State Legislature but certainly in the Congress.”
Utah was 900 people shy of qualifying for a fourth Congressional seat after the 2000 Census.
Juliette Tennert with the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget says in all, more than 30,000 Utahns weren’t included, including more than 9,500 in Salt Lake County. She says that meant a loss of $15 million in federal funds annually. Tennert says the next census will be a critical tool to help guide planning and policies for the next decade, when the population is expected to continue to grow at a rapid pace.
“The census really helps us to quantify that growth and that change,” Tennert says. “It becomes a critical tool for individuals, businesses, policymakers, in planning for the future. It helps us to decide where we’re going to build our roads, where we’re going to build our schools.”
The Complete Count Committee includes representatives from Utah’s minority communities, the disabled community, education and public health systems. Census questionnaires will be mailed in February or March. The final count must be delivered to the President next December.