Sebastian leaders to help get word out on 2010 Census count

By Ella Chabot-Remington

SEBASTIAN — Sebastian city leaders will help promote the 2010 Census by advertising the effort on the government access channel. Collecting census data this time around is expected to be more challenging than times past due to the high number of foreclosures and vacant homes.

At stake is the city’s share of more than $300 billion in federal funding – funds that local governments use to plan for their future needs like disaster and emergency services, health care services, schools, transportation, libraries and senior centers.

Census representative Ann St. Pierre told the Sebastian City Council last week that the city had a 77 percent completion rate in the 2000 Census.

“That wasn’t bad,” she said. “But we know this year we have more challenges than we ever have.”

While St. Pierre asked the council to create a committee to help in counting the residents, city council members said that they would help to promote the count by advertising the effort on the city’s government channel and seek volunteers to help pass out materials at the Sebastian Clambake Festival.

“I know you already have the liaison with me,” St. Pierre said. “But we still encourage you to promote awareness in the community to have a group of intelligent, a group of strong leaders in the community, so that we can make sure that everyone, everybody knows about Census 2010 since it’s coming soon. The day will be April 1, 2010. We want to make sure the city takes part and partners with 2010 Census.”

“I’m not sure what the city’s role would be in this,” Councilwoman Andrea Coy said. “But I would think the city certainly could advertise and use our radio or our advertising for it to help get volunteers to do what you’re doing. We can educate through our system. We can make announcements from up here certainly. “

Councilmember Eugene Wolff recommended that the city also help find volunteers to man the Census booth at the Clambake Festival.

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