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Help the Census shape our community

Special to the Time
The Apalach Times

The 2020 US Census is coming to Franklin County and its results are more important to the county than ever. But why is it important to you personally?

We all know that rural tourist communities have their own set of unique issues. Mainly, a dearth of employment, health care, or educational opportunities creates a trifecta of stifling conditions that hinder economic prosperity.

Unlike other growing communities, Franklin does not have rapidly growing tax collections to keep up with the increasing prices of disaster recovery, health care, education, and road construction that are critical elements of any community. But we can claim our fair share of state and federal resources that are allocated to rural communities based on population counts. Schools, medical services, early childhood programs, roads, senior needs, environmental protection - essentially all the quality of life issues that matter to you as a coastal resident are reliant on the Census and every person being counted.

Unfortunately, the response rate in 2010 in Franklin was below state and national averages, with nearly 40 percent of its residents failing to be counted. Most of our services dependent on state and federal dollars are underfunded because funding follows the numbers, not the need.

Other impacts of the 2020 Census will be the changing lines of representation of our local and state elected officials.

Finally, participating in the Census is required by the Constitution and is your civic duty.

In the coming weeks, the Complete Count Committee, in partnership with the Apalachicola Times, will publish a series of brief articles that will provide Census background, answer your questions, and provide guidance on why everyone counts in Franklin County. We need you to be counted. Help us shape our community and your future.

Next Week: Getting a Part Time Census Job

The Franklin County Complete Count Committee, chaired by Pat O’Connell, is overseeing a community-wide effort that includes representation from businesses, churches, schools, libraries, and both cities. For more info, email poconnell1414@gmail.com.