Census a 'once-in-a-decade opportunity' for area, local leaders say
Every 10 years, the census counts everyone who lives in the United States and that information is used to help distribute federal aid.
That's why local leaders involved with the Rochester-Monroe Complete Count Committee are discussing ways to get the word out.
Monroe County Clerk Adam Bello, (D) the bipartisan committee's co-chair along with Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren, said the census should not be a political issue.
"We only get a once-in-a-decade opportunity to do this, so we have to put politics aside, we can't let this interfere with counting everyone," Bello said.
Bello is challenging Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo (R), who is also on the committee. Both are also running for the Independence Party nomination in the June 25 primary.
The census affects everything from our congressional and state representation to federal funding for nonprofits, libraries and other services. That's why Bello said it’s important that the most needy among us get counted.
"The folks that are hardest to reach in our community are those who are most impacted by the funding that we could lose if they are not counted," said Bello. "I'm talking about issues like those in the intense concentrations of poverty in the city of Rochester."
The census is in the process of hiring 2,000 local workers to help collect data. For the first time, the census will be collecting information online, as well as by mail, over the phone and in person.