Forming census committee a good step toward preparing for 2020 numbers

Published 12:52 pm Thursday, January 9, 2020

In April of 2010, the last census was conducted in Vicksburg. That census showed Vicksburg’s population at 23,856.

That’s 1,144 persons short of a magic number.

Census results do more than track the number of people living in a certain area. They can affect states’ congressional districts and federal grant funding. They can also affect aldermanic and county supervisor districts or wards and whether cities and counties qualify for federal funds.

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Since 1790, a census to determine the U.S. population has been held every 10 years. That means numbers will be updated this year, and Vicksburg’s eligibility for federal funds and federal grant funding will again be in question.

Within the last week, Vicksburg Mayor George Flaggs, Jr. announced a new committee that will work to ensure the 2020 numbers include correct data and that Vicksburg is prepared for any potential changes based on the census.

For Vicksburg, the census will likely affect whether or not the city qualifies for federal funds, aldermanic districts and voting precinct locations.

According to Vicksburg Mayor George Flaggs Jr., a 25,000 population would allow our city to meet most “federal thresholds on grants, particularly on infrastructure and transportation.” It also makes Vicksburg more competitive for grant money and affects the federal Title 1 funds for the school systems.

In light of apparent synergy between city and county government, the need to repair some roads and bridges, and economic development officials’ work to attract more industry and workers to the area, those grants are of the utmost importance to Vicksburg’s future growth. The possibility of our census number affecting federal Title 1 funds for school systems is also important as our school district works to improve the educational experience for all Warren County children and prepare them for a life of purpose after high school.

“That (the census) is very important to the city and its future,” Flaggs said recently when announcing the new committee.

Have we grown by 1,144 people or more in the last decade?

We certainly hope so, as hitting that number and consequentially qualifying for federal funds will be important as our city leaders work to move us forward.

We thank those serving on the committee for giving their time to this invaluable project: city clerk Walter Osborne, District 3 Warren County Supervisor Shawn Jackson, Aldermen Michael Mayfield and Alex Mousour, city attorney Nancy Thomas, human resources director Fermika Smith, pastor Linda Sweezer, county election commission chairman Sarah Dionne and ex-officio member Administrative Assisstant Deborah Goodman.