Some of the U.S. Census Bureau promotional funds provided to the city were used to purchase about 20 banners that were placed on light poles by Steve Gorgon (left) and John Mudreyko of the Taylor Department of Golf, Parks and Recreation.
Volunteers Thom Ouellette (left), Rose Sclafani and Yvonne McDermott prepare hot dogs that were served to those who visited Heritage Park to check out the “Portrait of America” U.S. Census Bureau road tour April 10, hosted by the city.
TAYLOR — About 60 Taylor residents recently took part in a public service announcement urging everyone to fill out and return their 2010 U.S. Census form.
The commercial, which aired periodically on the city’s cable TV channel on Comcast and WOW, is one of the innovative promotional efforts presented on a shoestring budget by the city’s Complete Count Committee.
The U.S. population is counted every 10 years, and this year’s Census Day was April 1. Census officials continue to accept questionnaires by mail. On May 1, census takers will begin visiting homes of those who did not return a form.
At stake is more than $1,000 per person over each of the next 10 years, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Funds are provided to communities for public safety, schools, job creation, health care facilities and many other services. They are especially crucial to municipalities struggling to balance budgets.
The census also is used to determine congressional seats and assure proper district representation in all levels of government.
Taylor formed its committee last year and has been working ever since to get the word out with minimal funds, promotional items and ideas provided by the Census Bureau.
“The city of Taylor has been exemplary in its efforts and partnership with the U.S. Census Bureau,” said bureau partnership specialist Brian White, a Taylor native and graduate of Kennedy High School. “Very early on, they pulled together civic and community leaders to lead this effort, and as a result, Taylor has been above the national average for mail response rate.”
The census commercial actually cost the city nothing to create. It was filmed in the basement of Oakwood Heritage Hospital in a partnership between city officials from Taylor and Romulus. Taylor provided the script and direction; Romulus provided the videotaping and editing.
“This has truly been a communitywide effort, and we hope it pays off in an accurate census count,” said David Gorgon, Taylor’s public information director. “Everyone in the public service announcement was from Taylor, which was important. And our partnership with our neighbors from Romulus was so significant. Romulus has the equipment and expertise to create video programming.”
Various segments of the population are represented in the commercial: Taylor police officers and firefighters, seniors, students from Holland Elementary School, health care workers from Oakwood Heritage, families, recreation and businesses.
Speaking in the PSA are Rick Flood and Michele McNeely of the Complete Count Committee.
Committee members have had active roles in the effort. They’ve spread the census word at the Taylor Rotary’s Turn Off the Violence event, the city’s Fall Fest and other public events. A presence was established at the Downriver Campus of Wayne County Community College District, which is within the city limits. The Taylor Ministerial Fellowship agreed to distribute fliers telling their congregations about the importance of the census. Managers of the city’s apartment complexes also are on board.
Pro-census messages have appeared on city water bills and city employee paychecks. About 20 banners were hoisted on streetlight poles in major intersections and along Goddard Road near the city’s Department of Golf, Parks and Recreation.
The public service announcement can be viewed on the census page on the city Web site, www.cityoftaylor.com/census, and there is a Taylor census fan page on the social networking site Facebook.
On April 10, the city hosted the “Portrait of America” Census road tour at Heritage Park. Census workers distributed items promoting the census while city volunteers passed out hot dogs, chips and water. McKinley Properties paid for the food and drinks.
To be good partners with the Census Bureau, Taylor officials have provided space to train Census workers and continue to provide locations for those workers to answer residents’ questions about the 2010 form.
Throughout the campaign, questionnaire assistance centers were set up at City Hall, the William Ford Senior Activity Center, the Taylor Recreation Center, the Department of Public Works and the American House Southland facility on Eureka Road. Officials also have engaged in other promotional efforts.
“The census is important because so many important decisions over the next decade will be based on population counts of 2010,” said Mayor Jeffrey Lamarand, a government teacher before he was elected
mayor. “You have to remember the historical significance of the census, which allows us to search for family genealogical information.
“A hundred years from now, people might be able to trace their roots to us
because great census records are kept. The historical impact is in the past, present and future.”
For more information on the city’s census effort go to www.cityoftaylor.com/census.