Census to begin Oct. 1: Officials hope special canvass of Queen Creek residents will increase revenues from the state

he town of Queen Creek posted this graphic on its Facebook page to illustrate how additional money could benefit the community. (Courtesy of Town off Queen Creek)

The town of Queen Creek posted this graphic on its Facebook page to illustrate how additional money could benefit the community. (Courtesy of Town off Queen Creek)

Queen Creek residents can expect to hear a knock at their door next month as workers employed by the U.S. Census Bureau go house to house to update the town’s population count.

The mid-decade special census is being conducting by the town of Queen Creek because town officials estimate the population has grown by about 20 percent since 2010, Matt Behunin, a management assistant for the Queen Creek Town Manager’s Office, said during a phone interview.

The 2010 population was determined to be 26,361, according to the U.S. Census Bureau website: www.census.gov. The bureau estimates the town’s population grew by 22.3 percent between April 1, 2010, and July 1, 2014, according to the site.

The town estimated the population as of June 25, 2015, is 33,752, according to its website: www.queencreek.org/about-us/community-profile/population.

A special census is a basic enumeration, or record, of population, housing units, group quarters and transitory locations conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau at the request of a city or town, according to the town’s website: www.queencreek.org/census. The state uses the census data to determine a city or town’s proportionate share of state-shared revenue, according to the website. The updated data will bring additional tax revenue back to the community and help pay for municipal services, according to the website.

If the census is completed this fall, the town would see an increase in revenue starting in fiscal year 2017, Constance Halonen-Wilson, the town’s spokeswoman, said during a phone interview.

“According to state law, conducting a full census by the U.S. Census Bureau is the only accepted method for updating the population figures that are used to disburse state-shared revenues,” Ms. Halonen-Wilson said.

The cities of Buckeye, Chandler, Gilbert, Goodyear, Maricopa and Peoria also are conducting a special census this year, according to the town’s website.
Using revenue projections by Maricopa County Association of Governments, the updated population count could result in an increase of $4.8 million in state-shared revenues over fiscal years 2017 through 2020, Ms. Halonen-Wilson said.

The projected $4.8 million would not be received by the town if a special census is not completed, she said.

For every additional family of four, the town expects to receive approximately $4,485 of additional state-shared revenue, according to the town’s Facebook page: Town of Queen Creek (Official).

That figure is equivalent to a firefighter’s salary for four weeks, would pay for all the chemicals needed to maintain the town’s splash pad for six months or pay for enough paint to cover 8.5 miles of curbs, according to the town’s Facebook page.

After the 2010 census, the town received an annual increase of about $1.7 million, Jamie Bennett, town council assistant for Queen Creek, said during a phone interview. In 2014, the town received a total of $6,179,115 in state-share revenue based on its 2010 population count, she said.
That money is placed in the town’s General Fund for municipal public purpose, Ms. Halonen-Wilson said.

“The additional state-shared revenues that will be used for municipal public purpose can be used for any government service excluding enterprise funds such as water, sewer, trash and construction,” she said. “Examples of areas where the funds could be used include, but are not limited to, recreation, emergency services, public safety, development services and economic development.”

The additional revenue will pay for the cost to conduct the special census in Queen Creek, which Ms. Halonen-Wilson said would be approximately $537,681.

In November, the Queen Creek Town Council approved about $591,000 to fund the census, Ms. Bennett said. The amount includes an additional 10 percent to cover unexpected costs, she said.

The amount includes the salaries for the 90 temporary census workers hired to fill various positions including field operation supervisors, office operation supervisors, clerks, crew leaders and enumerators, she said. Enumerators — the workers who go door-to-door in their assigned area and complete the special census questionnaire — are being paid $16.25 an hour, plus mileage and paid training, according to a press release. They are required to work 25-40 hours a week for four to six weeks, according to the release.

About 75 percent of the temporary census workers reside in Queen Creek, Ms. Halonen-Wilson said. The remainder reside in San Tan Valley, Mesa and other communities in-between, Ms. Bennett said.

What can residents expect?

The U.S. Census Bureau requires a special census to be conducted door-to-door so no mail-in, online or telephone surveys will be allowed, Ms. Halonen-Wilson said.

Enumerators will be knocking on doors in Queen Creek from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. any day of the week starting Oct. 1 and extending through early November, depending on how long it takes to complete the census, according to Ms. Halonen-Wilson. Residents who have a preference of a time or day of the week should call the U.S. Census Bureau office that has been set up in Queen Creek at 480-292-8842 to schedule a visit by an enumerator, the spokeswoman said.
The office is open about the same schedule as the enumerators’ work days, Ms. Bennett said, adding census office employees are flexible in accepting calls and scheduling appointments.

Each enumerator will have a photo I.D. badge. He or she also will wear a bright green shirt with the words “Census worker” on the front and the special census logo the town created printed on the back, Ms. Halonen-Wilson said.

Temporary workers were required to pass a criminal background check to be eligible to be hired, according to the release.

People who would like to confirm the identity of a worker may call the local census bureau office at 480-292-8842. To report suspicious behavior by a worker, residents should call the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office Queen Creek substation, 22308 S. Ellsworth Road, on its non-emergency number at 602-876-1011. In case of an emergency, they should call 911.

The enumerator will ask residents their name and about the family relationships of those living in the home, Mr. Behunin said. The majority of the questions will relate to the demographics of the people living there, he said.

The enumerator will ask for a resident’s date of birth, Ms. Bennett said.

The census worker will not ask for a resident’s Social Security number, bank information, money or other related information, Mr. Behunin said.
Information collected by the census bureau remains confidential, Ms. Halonen-Wilson said.

“Census employees, including those hired on a temporary basis, swear under oath that they will not disclose any information gathered about individuals or businesses. Information collected by the census bureau is used only for statistical purposes — no one can obtain personal identifiable data from the census bureau,” she said. “No entities besides the census bureau can access the information.”

For more information, residents can e-mail census@queencreek.org, call the town at 480-358-3000 or visit the census page on the town’s website.

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