Carbon County is urging residents who have not returned their 2010 census to do so soon.

During the county commissioners' meeting on Thursday, Commissioner Wayne Nothstein announced that the census bureau is reporting that the lowest return rate in Carbon County is in the Albrightsville area.

"It's important that the people send in those forms to get a good census count and also because of the effect it has on the municipalities and on the county," Nothstein said. "It's extremely important that we get a good count."

He pointed out that the census is used to determine how much funding each county and municipality receives from the state and federal levels, and without a proper population count, some municipalities are missing out on thousands of dollars in funding.

Nothstein used the incident in Mahoning Township that happened during the 2000 census where the municipality was about 28 people short to be eligible for Community Development Block Grant funding. This was due to not everyone in Mahoning returning the census.

To be eligible as an entitlement community that automatically receives CDBG funding annually, a municipalilty must have over 4,000 residents. If they do not meet that requirement, they are considered a non-entitlement community and must compete for funding through the county's share of CDBG monies.

Commissioner William O'Gurek, chairman, added that Mahoning lost about $90,000 a year, or nearly $1 million in CDBG funds over the next 10 years as a result of lower than expected census returns.

He noted that because Mahoning missed the 4,000 mark, the municipality was considered a non-entitlement community instead of an entitlement community, smaller municipalities received less money for projects due to the fact that there were more non-entitlement communities applying for a portion of the county's share of CDBG funding.

"It's very meaningful for even the smallest of municipalities, the Parryvilles, the Weissports, the Beaver Meadows and all those other ones, because it is important for them to fill out the census just as much it is for the other ones so that we can get everyone lined up to the get the funding that they deserve."

Commissioner Charles Getz suggested that the commissioners draft a letter that will be sent to each municipality urging them to promote the census.

Nothstein also noted that the bureau is actively seeking volunteers to help spread the word of the need to fill out the census and return it. The county is looking to get volunteers in the Jim Thorpe area who are willing to help residents fill out the census.

The 2010 census is a 10-question form that asks residents about the individuals in the household, including their age, sex, race, and if the home they reside in is owned or rented.

If you or someone you know would like to become a volunteer to help residents and seniors fill out their census forms, call the Carbon County Commissioners office at (570) 325-3611.

For more information on the 2010 census, visit http://2010.census.gov.