BY ANDREW HEISERMAN
ROCHELLE – In the midst of the current coronavirus pandemic and stay-at-home order, the United States Government and the City of Rochelle continue working hard toward achieving an accurate 2020 Census count.
To help give U.S. citizens more time to respond to the 2020 Census, the government has extended the deadline to respond a second time. The new deadline has been moved from July 15 to Oct. 31, 2020.
Locally, all 2020 Census mailers have been sent out to residents printed English on one side and Spanish on the other. While the coronavirus pandemic impacted responses at first, the City of Rochelle has recently seen an increase in responses and has consistently stayed above the state and national average.
“The national response rate right now is 59.6 percent, Illinois is at 64.7 percent and the City of Rochelle is at 68.4 percent,” said Sue Messer, assistant to the city manager/city clerk. “When COVID-19 hit, we stalled slightly because we couldn’t go forward with many of our plans. But we have shifted gears, utilized different programs and the numbers are slowly increasing every day.”
While the deadline to respond is not until the end of October, the city is encouraging people to respond as soon as possible. Responses can be done online, over the phone or a paper copy can be requested to be mailed to the resident’s address.
The city also has plans to hand out facemasks and information regarding the census and how to respond at The Cypress House markets starting in June. The city is also offering census help via phone at 815-562-6161.
For people who have not responded, United States census takers will begin going door-to-door depending on when the state begins to lift regulations. The City of Rochelle would like to remind residents just how important each and every response is to the future of the community.
“With the pandemic, it is now more important than ever that we ensure our essential services and programs our citizens depend on,” Messer said. “Every response is worth $1,800 per year, for the next 10 years, in federal funding for Ogle County.”