Jacksonville, Greenville mayors battling for highest census count

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JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – The City of Jacksonville and the City of Greenville are battling to see who can get the higher response to the census.

During a rally Monday morning at the new Onslow County Courthouse, Mayor Sammy Phillips announced the friendly wager between him and Greenville Mayor PJ Connelly.

The rally is a push from city and county leaders for people in the area to fill out a census form by April 30.

Jacksonville leaders say, in the 2010 census, the city lost out on more than $400 million in state and federal funds. Most of the people who were not counted for were in the military community and children under the age of five.

Without their numbers, Onslow County lost out on money for transportation projects, the school system, and economic development.

“A lot of businesses use the number from the census to be able to determine where they want to locate​ so that could actually cost you economic development so we want to make sure all of our citizens respond,” said Phillips.

City leaders emphasize a census does not change your tax status or home record. Everyone who lives in a home should be accounted for.

The census basically states where you reside as of April 1.

The first batch of invitations should be in your mail by this Friday. You can also fill out the form online.

If more people fill out their census in Jacksonville, Greenville Mayor PJ Connelly has to dress up as a marine. But if Greenville has more responses, Jacksonville Mayor Sammy Phillips has to dress up as a pirate. ​

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A Rally for the Census will be held on March 9 in front of the new Onslow County Courthouse at 602 Anne Street.

The event will start at 9:30 a.m.

Onslow County was undercounted in the 2010 Census.

It is estimated that over the decade since the 2010 Census, the community lost out on more than $402 million in state and federal funds.

Equally, the communities lost out in rankings, attention by national businesses and economic development.

The Rally will be conducted by the Jacksonville-Onslow Complete Count Committee, which was charged to help advance the Census in the community.

They want everyone to be sure to fill out their Census and to encourage their neighbors and friends to do the same.

Elected leaders and members of the Jacksonville-Onslow Complete Count Committee will speak at the rally.

It comes just days before the Census invitations will arrive in Onslow mailboxes.

In 2010, only 67.8% of Onslow households self-responded to the Census without intervention from others.

The Complete Count Committee wants to get that number up and encourage residents to fill out the Census when the invitations arrive.

The public is invited to attend.

Parking should be available at the public lot on Court Street across from the Center for Public Safety.

A shuttle will run between Jacksonville Landing and the Courthouse front to allow persons to park away from the Courthouse area.

Because there was such a significant undercount of children from birth to 5 years old, officials want families to be sure they count everyone in the home, including children. Even those who are staying in a home in a temporary status.

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