Modified: February 12, 2020 2:57pm

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By Mark Poloncarz

This year, 2020, is a Census year. Article I, Section II of the United States Constitution mandates the enumeration of persons living in the country every 10 years. The decennial Census is an essential function designed to ensure an accurate population count in each and every community in America. It is vitally important that every single resident of Erie County — from the youngest infant to the oldest senior — is counted this year. Our services depend primarily on accurate population data.

The Census data is used to determine the amount of funds our community receives from the federal government. Erie County depends on hundreds of millions of dollars each year from the federal government, which are critical to our road repair, workforce development, social services, childcare, housing and education, just to name a few. For every resident who is not counted, our community loses $2,600 per year for the next 10 years. That means if even just a couple hundred people are not tallied by the census, we will miss out on millions of dollars that would have gone to support all of these essential services you deserve.

In addition to the financial implications of the Census, an accurate count is required to establish our representation in the federal government. Congressional apportionment is determined by population numbers. Last April, my office, in partnership with the City of Buffalo, commissioned the Complete Count Committee, which convened partners from public, private, non-profit, education and faith organizations all across the county. We are all focused on one single goal: ensuring every single resident in Erie County is counted in the 2020 Census.

This will require an enormous on-the-ground effort in every town, village and city in Erie County. The year 2020 will be the first time that the Census will use the internet and call-in responses from residents. The Census Bureau is already hiring thousands of Census takers to assist in the count. Positions pay $20 per hour, with paid training and highly flexible hours to fit your schedule. Whether you’re looking for some extra cash or the opportunity to take part in a historic process, I invite all county residents to apply at or through the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library. The deadline to apply is Friday, Feb. 28.

When a community comes together, there is nothing we cannot accomplish. I am confident that we will prove that again in this upcoming 2020 Census.