Jacksonville comes out on top with census count


JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – The federal government is no longer running the census count — that also brings an end to a friendly wager between two mayors in the east.

The idea of the friendly competition between Jacksonville Mayor Sammy Phillips and Greenville Mayor PJ Connelly was to generate a higher response rate for the census in each city.

Federal records show Greenville had a 58% response rate in this year’s census count.

If this were a horse race, Jacksonville would be winning by a nose with a 58.6% response rate.

The wager began seven months ago during a rally at the new Onslow County Courthouse.

This win means Jacksonville Mayor Sammy Phillips is spared from wearing a Pirates costume.

But Greenville Mayor PJ Connelly will have to pay up by dressing as a bulldog, the mascot of the U.S. Marine Corps.

“I haven’t talked to Mayor Connelly. I put a call in this morning to his office, but he wasn’t in. I did want to rib him just a little bit as far as a result, but also it was a friendly wager…that was the bottom line, the reason for the bet,” said Phillips.

Jacksonville may have won the friendly bet, but Mayor Phillips wishes the response rate would have been higher.

The census count is a big factor in how much federal funding comes to the city. He says factors like the coronavirus played a big role in reducing this year’s response rate.

9OYS reached out to Greenville Mayor Connelly to get his response to the result of the wager, but did not hear back from him.

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