MOUNT VERNON — The call is being made for census workers in 2010.
Mount Vernon Mayor Richard Mavis has been in contact with officials from the U.S. Census Bureau, who said they are beginning their search for workers to help count the citizens of Mount Vernon and Knox County in this decennium. They are appealing to those with part-time jobs and those who feel an obligation to help the country in its 10-year count of residents.
“Whatever the number is for the city and county, it’s critical for the next 10 years,” said Mavis. “Federal grant money uses population totals as one of its criteria. So, the more you count, the more you can be eligible for.”
Although some may not consider the 10-year count that important, the 2000 census nearly cost the city. Mavis said the 2000 census stated the city had lost 125 residents since the 1990 census was taken.
“When we contested that, they said there was no mistake. But, through the efforts of Jim Henry, using a GPS, we found 880 [people] who should have been listed as being in the city,” said Mavis. “That put us in the mid-15,000s after it was adjusted two years later. Once it’s on there, it’s difficult to get off; you stay at that number until the next census. So, it’s important for the city and the county to get the correct information.”
Those interested in helping out can get more information by visiting the Web site www.census.gov.
Monday will mark the end of an era for the Mount Vernon City Council. Burt Hanson and Derk Demaree, two long-time council members, will be attending their final council meeting. Jay Maners and Nancy Vail will be taking over their seats in January.
“We’re going to lose two long-term council members in Derk Demaree and Burt Hanson. They were both solid as council members — they accepted their responsibility and worked hard. I’d like to commend them for their hard work, their dedication and their courage to get things done,” Mavis said. “To keep the continuum working in council, it’s important to have good people. We have two good ones leaving, but we also have two good ones coming in. It’s important with local government — sometimes we change who we are, but as long as we’ve got good people, we’ll be successful.”
Mavis said there will be two committee meetings held prior to the final council meeting of 2009. The first will be on taxi cab licensing and the appeals process, while the other will focus on a parking agreement between the city and the Mount Vernon Parking Co. The committee meetings begin at 6:45 p.m.
In other news, Mavis said he met with Matthew Kurtz of Knox County Department of Job & Family Services about making a permanent work site out of the brickyard the city has near the water treatment plant. The city has thousands of bricks from projects around the city that need to be sorted, cleaned and palletized, and is looking at making it more of a full-time job when weather breaks.
Mavis also said he is looking into the possible use for a discount drug card at city pharmacies. The National League of Cities has a program available which would offer 20 percent off prescription drug prices for those without health insurance. Mavis is checking into the possibility of getting it for Mount Vernon.
City offices will be closed today and Friday for the Christmas holiday. They will reopen Monday at 8 a.m., but will close once again on Jan. 1 in observance of New Year’s Day.