Since it was first taken in 1790, the decennial U.S. Census has provided, above all, an accurate count of all people dwelling in our nation. It is hard to imagine an effort like this taking place 240 years ago, yet the census has been one of the cornerstones of our nation’s history and has helped tell the story of the American experience.
The information provided through our census is vital on many fronts. The census helps drive the apportionment of seats in the House of Representatives and helps drive an equitable distribution of an estimated $600 billion in federal funding. It also more specifically provides an accurate description of the American population, particularly with regards to age, sex and race. All of this has a direct impact on communities throughout our country.
Locally, the town of Irondequoit stands to benefit the most from an accurate census count as it directly relates to the level of Community Development Block Grant money that we receive every year. This grant, totaling several hundred thousand dollars, drives much of the investments we make to our infrastructure; it helps fund our senior programming and our low/moderate income Home Improvement Program.
The need to ensure every resident in Irondequoit is counted next year is of paramount importance. If our community is undercounted, then it may threaten the continuation of this federal funding, thus placing more of the burden on our property tax payers. For that reason, I am thrilled the governor has placed special emphasis on this process in creating the New York State Complete Count Commission, which is a comprehensive, grassroots-driven process to encourage full participation in the census.
Locally, County Clerk Adam Bello, an Irondequoit resident, is teaming up with Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren to lead our region’s participation in the Complete Count Commission, empaneled by Gov. Cuomo to ensure our state is ready for this upcoming process. Part of this effort is helping to ensure that community members take advantage of the many temporary field positions for the 2020 Census.
I encourage Irondequoit residents to take advantage of this chance to work on behalf of your community. Additional information about these opportunities can be found at 2020census.gov/job or by calling 1-855-JOB-2020. As always, you can call my office for more information at (585) 336-6034.
Shifting gears, I am happy to say that Moody’s Investors Services has once again determined the town’s finances to be strong, citing our growing fund balance and healthy liquidity positions. This directly impacts our interest rates as we go to the market to fund capital projects. More significantly, it validates our efforts at Town Hall to infuse fiscal responsibility while still striving to enhance the return you get for your tax dollars.