Whitesburg KY

Fleming-Neon council urged to help with coming census

The Fleming-Neon City Council received a visitor from the U.S. Census Bureau at its November meeting. Andra Sluss, partnership specialist of Partnership and Data Services from the Charlotte (N.C.) Census Bureau, paid the council a visit and asked for its help in making sure all citizens are properly represented and accounted for.

Sluss told the council that the form for the 2010 Census will have only 10 questions and will leave out many of the demographic questions such as income, educational level, etc. She said the new streamlined form is designed to increase participation and to eliminate the idea that the government is prying or gathering too much information.

The new Census forms are easy, safe, and important according to Sluss. She said the new forms will be the shortest in the history of the Census and should take about 10 minutes to fill out. Forms will be mailed to all U.S. homes and are in a “mail in-mail out” format, which allows them to be dropped into the mail after they are filled out. She said that while it isn’t 100 percent certain, the vast majority of people who return the forms in the mail will not receive a visit from Census workers. Sluss said visits are generally for those who do not return the forms.

Sluss also told the council that Census data is not shared with any agency, government or non-government, and is only published as statistics that do not mention individuals or give out individual information. Census workers must take a lifetime confidentiality oath not to reveal any information they gather and are subject to fines up to $250,000 or jail time if they reveal Census information.

Census information is primarily used to determine Congressional representation for the U.S. House of Representatives and is mandated by Article I, Section 2 in the original draft of the Constitution of the United States, which calls for an “enumeration” of the total population to be held every 10 years for the purpose of determining representatives and direct taxes. However, the 16th Amendment altered the direct taxes clause and negated it when the graduated income tax was created, giving Congress the power to collect taxes on income without regard for enumeration.

Strauss told the council that the federal government, as well as state governments, use Census figures to determine funding levels for municipalities and they need a good count so that each citizen is accounted for. She said the more people counted, the more money each state and community gets. Sluss estimated that $435 billion per year is apportioned from the U.S. government to state and local governments annually and it is all determined by Census figures. She also said that community and corporate planners use Census fig- ures in their work.

In other council business:

• There will be no garbage collection on Wednesday, Nov. 11, due to Veterans’ Day. Collection will be made up on Thursday and Friday.

• Council member James D. Collins told the council he met with representatives of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), who told him the agency will take action to dredge area streams. The meeting was in response to recent flooding in Fleming-Neon.

• The council decided to have the annual city christmas party catered and it will be held in City Hall. Mayor Polis said she will meet with the Water Board to agree on a date.

• Polis told the council that Jack Collier Construction will begin construction work on Abdoo Street and should be finished soon.

• Bids were advertised for the Haymond Sewer Project but council members did not know how many were picked up or if they have not been opened yet.

• Police Chief Mike Dingus introduced Officer Michael Rose to the council as a part-time officer. Rose is a former Letcher County deputy sheriff and left the department to go to work in mining. However, Dingus said Rose expressed a desire to get back into law enforcement and he is happy to have him on the department.

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