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Census deadline approaches

ASPEN – If Pitkin County residents don’t want a knock on their door from a Census worker pestering them for their information, they should fill out the form and send it in by Friday.

That’s the deadline for the U.S. Census Bureau to start the next phase of the 2010 Census, which will be to follow up on the tardy Americans who have failed to be counted.

And so far, it doesn’t appear that Pitkin County residents are doing a very good job of it.

As of April 9, Pitkin County reached a 35 percent participation rate, lagging behind the national average for that day of 65 percent.

Aspen and Pitkin County aren’t the only resorts with lower than average participation rates. Nearby Summit County had an even lower participation rate that day of 26 percent, according to Census officials.

Aspen Mayor Mick Ireland said during a public meeting Monday that he has heard some households in certain neighborhoods haven’t received their Census forms. When contacted Tuesday, Ireland said officials in City Hall are following up on those claims.

“I will call [Colorado Congressman John] Salazar and [Colorado Sen. Michael] Bennet if we don’t get this taken care of,” he said, adding it’s important that Aspen and Pitkin County are fully counted so state and federal funding is available based on demographics and population.

“If we have to walk around door to door, we will,” he said of the city’s efforts.

Denver Regional Census Center Media Specialist Deborah Cameron said she has investigated claims that forms haven’t reached certain neighborhoods and they are unfounded.

She said there might be confusion because some residents receive forms in their mailboxes, while others who live in areas that predominately use P.O. boxes will get their surveys on door knobs.

“People may have expected to get it in their mailboxes,” she said. “But by and large, our operation has worked as planned … things are on track and on schedule.”

Anyone who hadn’t received a survey by April 12 should call 1-866-872-6868 and ask for one to be mailed.

Cameron will be in Aspen this Friday to participate in a televised question and answer session in City Council Chambers at City Hall from noon to 1 p.m. The public is invited to attend. The session also can be viewed on CGTV Channel 11 or online at http://www.aspenpitkin.com by clicking on “Watch Webcasts.”

csack@aspentimes.com


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