The Hamburg City Council heard Monday about the importance of recruiting census workers for the area.

The nation’s Constitutionally mandated decennial census is slated for 2020. Danny Burl with the U.S. Census Bureau’s Chicago region told the council that while April 1 is considered census day, the actual census work at the local level would begin in March.

Getting an accurate count of residents — who do not have to be legal residents to be counted — not only helps the U.S. government understand where its population is, but also helps determine funding for projects at local, state and national levels, Burl said.

“They don’t have to be legal, they don’t have to be 18 (to be counted),” he said.

“If we have children staying with grandma and granddaddy, that is where we count them. If mama lives in Little Rock and she claims them on her taxes, we still want to count them here if they are walking our streets here.

“We want to count people where they are.”

The questions on the census questionnaire will include the number of people living in or staying at a residence as of April 1; if the home is owned or rented; the sex and race of each person in the residence; the age of each person; if any of the residents are of Hispanic, Latino or Spanish origin; and the relationship of each person in the household to each other.

“We are not asking if you are legal, we are not asking how much money you have,” Burl said. “We are just asking how many people are there.”

The official Census 2020 Website says that all personal information is kept confidential, and that the Census Bureau is required by law to keep it so. All information is only used for statistical purposes, the Website says.

Residents will have three ways to respond to the census, online, by mail or by telephone, Burl said.

However, local census workers will be needed to complete the count.

“We know some people won’t do what they are supposed to do, some people won’t fill out the census, so we are going to have to go out and enumerate (them),” he said. “After April 1, those people who haven’t come out and filled out their census, we will knock on their door and count those people.”

That’s where local employees would come in, he said, telling the council that it’s preferable that local people do local enumerations.

The only qualification for potential census workers is that they be 18 or older. Pay in Arkansas will be between $17 and $20 an hour, and the bureau is looking to hire part-time and full-time employees, Burl said.

Employees will be paid weekly.

Those who want to apply can do so at 2020census.gov/jobs.

Representatives from the Census Bureau will also be at the Hamburg City Hall from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday.

In other news, the council adopted its budget for the 2020 fiscal year.

The budget projects for $1,152,800 in general fund receipts and $1,117,676 in general expenses.

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