Lebanon Mayor Philip Craighead called launching a Special Census "the biggest thing going on right now" during the September City Chat on Wednesday morning at the Lebanon/Wilson Chamber of Commerce.
Craighead explained that the State of Tennessee funds local governments, such as Lebanon, based on the reported population - which is based on the last Federal Census. The last Federal Census was in 2010 and the next will not be completed until 2020.
Craighead said that within a five-year span (2010-2015) 2,000 residential permits have been pulled - meaning there has been an estimated 5,000-person increase in the community that will not be counted until 2020.
In order to capture State funds, he has proposed a Special Census. Craighead said he has recruited "go-getter" Scott McRay to assist in the Special Census and that a website, www.countlebanon.org has been set up.
The Special Census will ensure that the city receives a fair share of state dollars. He suggested that with an up-to-date report the City could receive $500,000 annually from the state.
From an economic development standpoint, exiting Economic Development Director Helene Cash said an accurate population count could attract more businesses. "There is a tipping point as to how they look at you - under 30,000 or over 30,000 - from a developer's point of view," she said.
Folks can participate in the census by filling out information online at countlebanon.org, looking for door hanger forms which they can return to the city with utility bills, or stopping by Lebanon City Hall to pick up a form.
According to official, all information will be kept confidential and will only be used by the City of Lebanon for the Special Census. Information will not be shared, sold, rented or given to any other entity or business.
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