Making it count

Marshall to form committee to go out in community to make sure everybody is counted

Photo by Karin Elton Children play in Freedom park in Marshall Friday morning.

MARSHALL — The city of Marshall wants every resident to stand up and be counted.

To that end Kyle Box, Marshall’s city clerk, asked the Marshall City Council at its regular meeting Tuesday evening that he would like a resolution to be approved to create the 2020 City of Marshall Complete Count Committee.

Unless everyone is counted during the 2020 Census, Minnesota is “once again, we’re at risk of losing a seat in the House of Representatives. What that means is our districts would be going from eight to seven,” Box said.

Undercounting affects Minnesota’s finances as far as federal dollars, he said.

“In fiscal year for 2016, a little over $15 billion was given to the state of Minnesota for different programs such as $660 million for highway construction, Medicaid, student loans, Pell grants, tons of USDA programs and HUD programs,” he said.

A committee, the CCC, will be formed to “go out in the community and get those hard-to-count people such as minorities and Snowbirds and give them correct information on what is happening,” Box said. “It’s really important for Marshall to get an accurate count.”

Mayor Bob Byrnes said Southwest Minnesota State University students often don’t know whether to count themselves as a Marshall resident or list their hometown.

“It’s the majority of where you spend your time and where you’re going to be on April 1, on Census Day,” said Box.

“Same with Snowbirds.” Box said states such as Texas, Florida and Arizona want to count Snowbirds, but “we want them here.”

The information from the U.S. Census is used as baseline data, said Byrnes. “It’s used for a number of purposes. Let’s say, a retail store chooses to locate here. That’s based on population and if we miss one portion of the population, if we’re undercounted by 10 percent, it would go elsewhere.”

Marshall Public Works Director Glenn Olson said the Census data affect the Municipal State Aid System.

“It’s really important we get a good count,” he said.

Marshall council member Glenn Bayerkohler asked how many people will be on the committee.

“It’s what we did in 2010,” said Box. “It was a large group. I would say close to 12 to 18. It’s important to have people in every corner of the city.”

Byrnes said having a special committee was successful in 2010.

“We believe it was,” said Byrnes. “The 2010 Census was much more accurate than 2000.”

Byrnes believes Marshall’s population was undercounted in 2000.

In 2010, SMSU staff and students were members of the committee as well as members of various religious organizations.

“There’s no real point in limiting the size of this committee; it’s just important to have full representation,” Byrnes said.