LOCKHART — The number of people in a community helps determine how much government funding that community receives.
So having an accurate count in the decennial U.S. Census is important.
The Town of Lockhart understands that and it played a key part in getting as many of its residents to fill out census questionnaires or talk to numerators and even fielded questions from people who needed assistance this year as the 2010 Census rolled through.
“We had great partners like you here in Lockhart,” said Bill Whitney with the U.S. Census Bureau.
Because of Lockhart’s dedication to assisting not only the census bureau in its attempt to accurately count everyone in the community but also its efforts in helping everyone there get counted, Whitney presented the town council with a special plaque on Tuesday evening during the council’s regular monthly meeting.
He also gave council members a brief update on the progress of this year’s census.
“We have had a great census,” Whitney said.
He told the council census activity is in its final stages and that it should be finished up by sometime toward the end of October with the final numbers being sent to President Barack Obama sometime in January 2011 and then being released to the public by early February of next year.
Lockhart was one of several communities across the state in 2010 to jack up its efforts to get an accurate count of its population. Because of those increased efforts around South Carolina, Whitney said the state went from being ranked 49th in the nation for responding to the census in 2000 to 23rd in 2010.
“We had a 73 percent return on questionnaires before the numerators hit the street,” he said.
That saved the federal government about $1.6 billion.
Whitney also informed council that even though the census offices around the Upstate and beyond will be closing by the end of October, there still will be a census presence in place.
Plans call for a person to be hired in October who will work out of an office in Charlotte helping cities and towns around the state understand how the census works and how to find census information.
Whitney also gave the council his business card with contact information in the event members would like to get hold of him in the future for any questions.
In other business at Tuesday’s meeting, council members:
• Received the report from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control on the town’s annual sanitary inspection. Lockhart received an overall satisfactory rating in its 2010 inspection which was conducted by a DHEC official on July 22.
• Heard an update on the progress of DHEC lead and copper testing currently being done in the community.
• Were informed by Mayor Ailene Ashe of a $100 donation from Mrs. Gladys Bryan in memory of JC Bryan Jr. and in honor of Dr. Gerald Fielder that is to be used for the town park.
• Discussed options for signage at the park.
• Adopted a proclamation declaring October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
• Heard brief updates on the status of adult education courses in Lockhart and getting the tree limbs on Canal Street cut.
• Received information about, and an invitation to, a meeting with the Southeast Rural Community Assistance Project that will be held at the Tosche Creek Wastewater Plant at 1700 Cross Keys Highway in Union at 1 p.m. today (Friday, Aug. 27).
• Received information that the Second Harvest Food Bank’s Mobile Food Pantry will be in Lockhart on Wednesday, Sept. 8, at 10 a.m. at Lockhart First Baptist Church in the parking lot. People interested in receiving food that day must meet these household income limits: One person, $1,354 per month; two people, $1,822 per month; three people, $2,289 per month; four people, $2,757 per month. Applications to receive food are available at Lockhart Town Hall or Lockhart Cafe. For more information, contact town hall at (864) 545-2103.