Every 10 years, the U.S. government must complete a thorough population count. The accuracy of the report is crucial to each municipality as it secures federal funding and fair representation in Congress.
North Tonawanda Alderman-at-Large Austin Tylec has taken on the responsibility of helping the city help itself with the creation of a complete count committee, a group spearheaded by the city that advocates for the creation of networks within the community to ensure NT residents are aware of the census and their responsibility to report.
Tylec discussed the plan with a representative from the U.S. Census Bureau, Joe Sarzyniak, who has been stationed in Western New York to ensure an accurate count be taken. Tylec found out a complete count committee (CCC) would help the U.S. Census Bureau and, in this case, Sarzyniak, plan and implement targeted efforts that address the needs and requirements of a successful count.
The goal of the CCC is to include a diverse range of community organizations and residents, and have representation from each major racial and ethnic group within NT, as well as representatives from “hard-to-count” groups – defined by New York state as groups of people who are less likely to self-report to the bureau and will need additional outreach.
“The purpose of the committee is to motivate our community to self-respond by educating the public about how important the census is,” Tylec said. “We need to inform the community by engaging them; we absolutely need a ‘hands-on’ approach.”
Tylec submitted a resolution to the Common Council that would create the “North Tonawanda Complete Count Committee,” a body that would serve as a liaison for Sarzyniak and the U.S. Census Bureau to ensure clear paths of communication between the city and the bureau without extensive use of taxpayer-funded means.
“The census is a great opportunity for NT to help itself by making sure the count is as accurate as possible, and I believe this committee will ensure that we make the most of this opportunity,” Tylec said. “The turnout is always low, and we cannot afford to fall into a lower-funding bracket because of our inability to report.”
Residents looking to get involved in this committee can contact Tylec ([email protected]) for more information.
The resolution was passed at a regular meeting of the North Tonawanda Common Council on Tuesday.