SALISBURY – Officials in Wicomico County voted this week to accept grant funding to improve community involvement in the 2020 Census.
On Tuesday, the Wicomico County Council approved a request to accept $20,000 from the Maryland Department of Planning for activities conducted by the Wicomico County Count Committee.
Planning, Zoning and Community Development Director Lori Carter told the council the funds would be used to increase participation in the 2020 Census.
“I’m here asking the council to favor us in being able to accept the award of $20,000 to help us with our Census 2020 operations for this year,” she said.
Carter explained most of the funding would be used to promote the 2020 Census in the media.
“One of the things we are looking at is being able to utilize these funds for media,” she said. “That’s going to be one of our largest goals, where we will be able to get the best bang for our buck.”
Carter said the county’s count committee – composed of representatives from the community – has been working to increase awareness and motivate residents to respond to the Census. She noted the committee was also seeking individuals from the county’s municipalities to get involved.
“It is a very important initiative,” she said. “It takes a lot of groundwork, and therefore it’s required us to put a lot of long hours in to get it done. We’re just asking everyone to inform your constituents to please not ignore what comes in the mail for the Census.”
Officials noted the importance of completing the Census. Carter said Census data would be used to distribute federal funding back to state and local governments.
“It’s very important because everything related to funding – schools, roads, everything from the playgrounds to the parks – is connected to the Census dollar,” she said.
Carter told the council it was also important to reach “hard-to-count” populations that have historically been undercounted or traditionally have not responded well in the Census questionnaire. She said the committee was focusing its efforts to make sure those individuals – including minorities, senior citizens and renters – were represented.
The council voted unanimously to accept the $20,000 grant. Carter said the committee would also consider partnering with other counties in its media efforts.
“We do thank you for your participation and we want to invite people to get involved,” she said. “Tell everybody about it and that they need to participate.”