When I was first elected to represent Peoria citizens nearly 15 years ago, the city of Peoria’s population was nearing 130,000 residents and our city was growing by the day. We were in the midst of the housing boom and our economy was thriving. People wanted to live in our city, and Peoria was exploding with new home and commercial developments.
More than a decade later, Peoria continues to be one of the fastest-growing cities in the region. As we continue to work toward serving our developing community to the fullest, it is important that we have all of the tools and resources necessary to do this.
Every 10 years, each city in the state participates in the U.S. Census. Census Day is April 1, 2020, and as we gear up for this important process, there has already been a great deal of political rhetoric about what the census is and how the information is used. Accurate census counts are directly tied to the funding streams that affect the quality of life of each Peoria resident. This is far too important to base actions on inaccurate statements that crowd the airwaves, the internet and the evening news.
It’s important to know the facts
The Census in America is as old as our country itself and was outlined by our Founding Fathers in the U.S. Constitution to ensure federal and state governments properly distribute funds for things like public safety, transportation, education and even social services.
The Census is a safe, secure and completely confidential process. The information you provide for your household is not accessible by outside organizations and cannot be used by the courts or by law enforcement.
The Census allows our city to receive its fair share of more than $675 billion in federal funding that is distributed to communities across the nation. In Peoria, these dollars make a big difference in the quality of life that we enjoy. In fact, state shared revenues make up nearly one third of our general fund. Last year this amounted to nearly $44 million directly to our city.
Census dollars help fund and run our police and fire departments, they support our trash and recycle collection, and among other essential services, these dollars support the maintenance of our roads, sidewalks and intersections. Outside of the financial impact, knowing our growth trends gives us a real-time perspective of what we can expect for our future.
In the coming months, residents will start to see and hear more about Census 2020. By April, every household in the United States will receive an invitation to participate in the census online, by phone or by mail. When it comes time to complete this important count, my hope is that residents remember, and base their responses on, the facts and the purpose of the census.
Every day, council and I work hard to bring value to those who call Peoria home. Accurate census counts help ensure we receive our fair share of federal and state dollars, helping keep your hard earned tax dollars here in the community that you proudly call home.
To learn more about Census 2020, visit peoriaaz.gov/census.