March 26, 2010 | Charlottesville Daily Progress | Original Article

City, county make wager on census response

Forms for the 2010 census have been delivered, and Charlottesville and Albemarle County leaders are undertaking a friendly competition on which locality can get the highest percentage of residents to fill them out.

Albemarle Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Ann H. Mallek is risking steaks in her freezer. “And the mayor [Dave Norris] countered with a large box of Spudnut donuts. So, that’s the wager,” county spokeswoman Lee Catlin said.

About 40 percent of Albemarle residents have filled out the census forms so far, beating Charlottesville’s 37 percent and the state’s 34 percent.

Census results are used to determine the number of seats in the U.S. House of Representatives for each state, the shape of legislative and local government districts and how more than $400 billion in federal funds are distributed annually to communities.

The U.S. Constitution mandates a population count each decade. The form has 10 questions and takes about 10 minutes to complete. The U.S. Census Bureau is prohibited by law from sharing respondents’ answers with anyone, including other federal agencies and law enforcement entities.

Albemarle has an assistance center in the County Office Building at 401 McIntire Road, open on weekdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. through April 15. Manned by the U.S. Census Bureau, the center provides in-person information and language assistance in completing forms, including providing large print and Braille forms.

For more information on the 2010 Census, visit http://2010.census.gov. To track participation rates, visit: http://2010.census.gov/2010census/take10map.