December 15, 2009 1:20:00 PM
Next year marks the 2010 Census, and the Lowndes County Complete Count Committee is seeking volunteers to help better inform the public.
"A lot of people do not know what the Census is about, and we want to let people know how important it is to fill out the forms," said Lowndes County Complete Count Committee chairman Sharon Lewis.
The committee met Monday evening at the Columbus Public Library to discuss ways to inform citizens throughout the county.
"We are contacting local utility companies asking them to put a note on their water, gas or electric bills to remind people about the 2010 census," Lewis said.
Committee secretary Jo Shumake said the committee has been meeting since June, putting things together.
Audrey Swanigan, partnership assistant with the U. S. Census Bureau, said she is working to get the word out about the census to the schools.
"I am working with schools in the Columbus Municipal School District and the Lowndes County District. I have also been in contact with school districts in Webster, Choctaw, Oktibbeha and Clay counties," she said.
Swanigan said Complete Count committees such as the one in Lowndes County are volunteer teams consisting of leaders in community organizations, faith-based groups, schools, businesses and media outlets.
"We have 11 representatives; six appointed by the Columbus City Council and five by the Lowndes County Board of Supervisors," Shumake said
She said they are also working with local churches to make sure pastors get out the necessary information to their members.
"The 2010 Census is important to our community, especially in terms of economic development," she said.
People who wish to volunteer to be a part of this committee are encouraged to come to the next meeting at 5 p.m. Jan. 11 at the library.
"We want to have many people to help make a difference and make sure everyone gets counted," Lewis said.
Allen Baswell is a former staff reporter for The Dispatch
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