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Highland - August 11

Paula Campbell - Community Correspondent
Posted 8/10/20

It's hard for me to believe that only twenty one percent of Sullivan County residents have completed the 2020 ten question Census form which is less than half of the forty-three percent New York …

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Highland - August 11


It's hard for me to believe that only twenty one percent of Sullivan County residents have completed the 2020 ten question Census form which is less than half of the forty-three percent New York State average.

The Town of Highland scores in at twenty four percent responses. Conducting a US Census every ten years is mandated in our Constitution for obvious reasons.

If we do not know how many people live in our nation how can our citizens and communities get the federal financial help they need? And we are talking loosing out on billions of dollars in federal money we need for cops, firemen, schools, food programs, agricultural aid, libraries, environmental protections, road repairs, healthcare and hospitals, social services and all of those employed by these programs.

There has been a public fury lately over the attempted closing of a senior care center in Liberty because the County cannot afford to run it. It's not at all surprising since during the last census in 2010 Sullivan County limped in second to last in the State in the Census response rate, so billions were lost.

On average a state will loose approximately $30,000 per individual (counting the kiddos) for each person not counted during the US Census, so facilities like the senior care centers will not get adequate funding as the uncounted populations grows.

As conspiracy theories abound it is important to know that the Census by law cannot release any identifiable information about you, your home or household to any person or agency including the courts or law enforcement. No one is asked about their citizenship, source of income or social security information.

The Census questions ask about ages and household relationships, ethnicity, and your housing situation. Since the first US Census was held in 1790 some two hundred thirty years ago there has never been any successful legal challenge in court to the Census Bureau's law of confidentiality of its personal data, and the data is kept confidential for 72 years after it was collected.

Census data is so reliable that we see it used as a reliable research tool by individuals doing their family genealogy and on popular ancestry shows.

New York State is broke from very successfully fighting the virus and the loss of tax revenue so it is important that every single available federal dollar be returned back to the State to help maintain our services and the wellbeing of our citizens.

There are several ways you can complete the Census questions. If you did not get a form in the mail, you can go online to www.ny2020census.gov or call 844-330-2020 between 7 a.m. and 2 p.m. The Community Table at the Barryville Farmers Market also has blank Census forms and can answer any questions.

The form takes about three minutes to complete. Starting this month, the Census Bureau will be sending out well trained census takers with census forms as well. We each need to do our part to get as many Census responses done as possible.

I was so sorry to hear that the legendary newspaperman Pete Hamill had died this past week. We had mutual friends, so I got to spend some time with him over the years. Every summer I read one of his books and loved them. There was no better writer who so eloquently could speak to the Irish immigrant experience in America.

He was best known for being a self-taught streetwise newspaper journalist principally at the New York Post and everyone read Pete's columns faithfully. With his authentic and no-nonsense writing Pete told the stories about everyday folks from the hard edges of New York City that we needed to hear about.

Last year HBO produced a documentary “Breslin and Hamill: Deadline Artists” which is well worth watching. As the Irish say. “As you slide down that last banister of life, may the splinters never point the wrong way.” I'll toss a bucket of water for you Pete and may your rest be easy!


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