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Two county officials offer to help Lansford

Published July 12. 2012 05:01PM

Two Carbon County officials are offering to help Lansford find people the U.S. Census may have missed in its 2010 count that cost the borough up to $100,000 a year in government funds.

Commissioner William O'Gurek and Recorder of Deeds Emmett McCall, who lives in Lansford, visited a public council meeting Wednesday to describe how they are gathering volunteers to canvass Census "blocks" in the borough to count noses.

The 2010 Census counted 3,941 people in the borough 59 short of the 4,000 required to list it as a Community Development Block Grant entitlement entity. The money, between $90,000 and $100,000, goes to municipalities that qualify as low-to-moderate-income to be used for infrastructure and other improvements.

"It's worth a shot," McCall said.

"Emmett and I are hopeful that you will be receptive to us beginning the process of looking into the appeal of Lansford's Census count," O'Gurek said.

Council president Rosemary Cannon said that she has already spoken with David Bodnar, who works in the county planning office, about a challenge. Last month, council approved challenging the Census count, and talked of Lansford firefighters offering to help do a recount.

O'Gurek and McCall showed council a map delineating Census blocks. The blocks are not city blocks, but sections of town. There are 113 Census blocks in Lansford, 25 of which have no residents.

To start, each dwelling unit in each block would be counted and compared to census data.

Census workers may have missed people for a number of reasons, including that some homes have been divided into apartments, increasing the number of dwelling units. the U.S. Census may have counted such a house as one dwelling unit, when in fact it may be two.

The recount would be done through a U.S. Census program called the "Count Questions Resolution, which allows municipalities to correct any errors that you find in terms of dwelling units that were missed," O'Gurek said.

'We've assembled 15-20 volunteers," and hope to start the count next week, he said.

The volunteers will be taught how to document residents who lived in the town as of April 2010. The documentation includes names, addresses, water connections, occupational tax data, voter registration "documentation to prove there was someone living at those addresses where we feel there were discrepancies," O'Gurek said.

"We think Lansford is worth fighting for," he said.

The struggling borough needs the Community Development Block Grant money. The program distributes federal funds through the state to counties, which administer the grants for municipalities in return for 18 percent of the funds.

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