The upcoming census could have a significant impact on local cities, and Hamburg Mayor Dane Weindorf called Monday for community leaders to help find census workers for the area.

“We need census workers to come to my office or talk to people,” he said at Monday’s meeting of the Hamburg City Council. “I can’t tell you how important this census is going to be in 2020.”

Official census counts often play a determining role in how state and federal funds — among others — are distributed to local municipalities, and “if we miss one person, it is going to cost us big money,” Weindorf said.

The mayor said the city especially needs to engage local minority groups in the decennial count of the country’s population. The census is a Constitutional requirement.

“We need the Hispanic population to step up, and we need the black community to step up,” he said. “What you give to the census is kept in the census. It is not given to the Border Patrol or anyone else.”

Though everyone residing in the United States is required to participate in the census, federal law backs up the right to census privacy.

“It is against the law for any Census Bureau employee to disclose or publish any census or survey information that identifies an individual or business,” Census.gov says. “This is true even for inter-agency communication: the FBI and other government entities do not have the legal right to access this information.”

In other news:

-Weindorf told the council that as the city approaches the budget year’s end, “We are ending up good.

“The budget is right on,” he said. “We are going to be right where I thought we would be.”

The city has money left in the capital improvement account, he said, telling the council that if the city does not spend it now it can carry over to next year.

However, the mayor told the council that the city needs a new tractor with a boom side arm, a truck with a plumber’s bed for the water department, and a radar speed detection sighn to act as a speed calming device on Main Street.

“I wait until the end (of the year), waiting to make sure there is not an emergency where we need (the money),” Weindorf said. “But with this, we can service the public better.”

The council voted to give Weindorf permission to spend up to $25,000 for the new tractor, and approved for Police Chief Johnny Oliver to spend $6,775 for the speed-calming device, which flashes drivers’ speed as they pass it.

The council members also told Weindorf to call a special meeting for their approval if he found a truck that meets the city’s needs.

-Hamburg Police Chief Johnny Oliver said that property crimes in the city are down “quite a bit,” and Fire Chief Tim Hollis told the council that the city had made it through the first major cold snap “without any house fires or structure fires.

-Hamburg Public Works Director Jimmy Hargis said the city’s planned rural water expansion is moving forward, but there is still time for those who are interested to contact him about getting on the system. Time for further inquiries, however, is drawing to a close, he said.

-The council heard a presentation from Entergy Arkansas’ Chris Cook, who discussed Entergy’s plan to allow municipalities to purchase solar power when it gets approval from the state public service commission.

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