Snowbirds: Remember to be counted

Since 2016, Mayor Dave Kitchell has shared updates from the city in a monthly column on CassCountyOnline.com.

Logansport Mayor Dave Kitchell
Logansport Mayor
Dave Kitchell

It may not be winter yet, but with November come plans for many local residents to head South to escape the coldest days of winter.

While some go for a few weeks or a month, many go for several months, and it’s that group we want to alert before they head South for warmer climes. For them to be counted in the next Census, they won’t be able to wait until May next year to fill out a form. Census Day is April 1, 2020. The official count in Logansport that day will be a statistic that we have to live with for the next decade, and we need everyone to be counted.

The 2020 U.S. Census is coming, and Logansport officials are already working to ensure the numbers are accurate for our city and county. Mandated by the Constitution, the Census provides the mechanism that divvies up $675 billion in federal funding for local communities. The Logansport Community School Corporation benefits, as do the city and Cass County. It can mean the difference between a new legislative district at a time when our county has no representative in the Indiana General Assembly to the loss of an entire Congressional district, which Indiana has experienced several times since the 1970s.

Earlier this year, I was approached by a representative from the Census Bureau about a new concept. For the first time, the bureau is asking communities to form Complete Count Committees – groups of local residents who can assist in ensuring the populations that may be overlooked are included in the Census count.

Our Complete Census Committee has already met twice. Our most recent meeting was with our regional representative for the Census Bureau. In comparison with other cities, we are ahead of schedule, and there are many great questions already being asked about what needs to be done.

What may be the most important part of this year’s Census is that it will be the first in which residents will be able to fill out the form on a computer instead of by hand. The forms will still be available, but computers and phones will play a part in determining the official Census count more than ever before. What that means for Logansport is that we’ll be working with local people to provide access to computers free of charge during the Census period.

Our committee has identified some issues such as providing a count for those in institutions and shelters, and those in the military.

Given the concern over calls for township consolidation in the state, we’ve also asked the Cass County Extension Service so that residents of rural areas can be counted more conveniently next year. Special attention will be given to group home residents, juvenile centers, nursing homes and inpatient facilities to determine an accurate count.

We anticipate providing more information through the local media, which are represented on the committee, and our city Facebook page.

October was a terrific month for the city. Our fire department was busy as part of Fire Prevention Month, and continues to receive many calls for smoke detectors. We hope that trend continues.

Our police department has been actively involved in the Red Ribbon Week activities. Officer Dan Farris has done a fantastic job in coordinating our annual poster contest along with art teachers at all four elementary schools. We’re grateful for Walmart’s support of the program and the efforts of Sheriff Ed Schroder, Chief Rob Smith and all those involved in the Red Ribbon Breakfast at McHale Community Complex. This year, it was a particular honor to posthumously recognize the late Judge Rick Maughmer for his many contributions to drug prevention and treatment in our community. Rick served our community for more than 30 years as a prosecutor and judge and leaves a huge legacy. Efforts by the Local Coordinating Committee for a Drug-Free Indiana are underappreciated, and former officers such as Cathi Collins continue to be foot soldiers in the fight against drug abuse. We are fortunate to have the right people on our side.

As always, it is a privilege to serve as your mayor. If you have a complaint, a comment or a concern, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at (574) 753-2551, or via e-mail at dkitchell@cityoflogansport.org.