Chandler residents who fill out special census surveys in about a month could be helping the city get 30,000 new library books.
Or a new pumper truck for the fire department. Or nine new traffic signals.
People who live in Queen Creek and fill out the survey could be alleviating some of their commuting headaches.
East Valley officials cited those as examples of uses of extra state-shared revenue that would come with higher population numbers recorded in September’s special census.
About one in 13 households in Maricopa County will receive a survey next month. According to the Maricopa Association of Governments, the 10-question survey should take about six minutes to complete.
Residents who take those minutes can mean millions in extra money for their communities, officials said at a census kickoff event hosted by MAG on Tuesday. The state returns nearly $1 billion in revenue to its cities and towns based on their populations.
With rapidly growing populations, many East Valley communities have far outpaced their Census 2000 numbers and need more cash to provide adequate municipal services.
In Chandler, the extra money from an accurate population count would amount to $4.7 million a year, said Mayor Boyd Dunn. The city’s population has grown from 176,000 in 2000 to about 220,000 today.
Queen Creek Vice Mayor Jon Wootten said the extra $3.8 million the town would get with a population that has more than quadrupled since 2000 would provide "the ability to solve some of our transportation problems."
Officials at the event also said they wanted to remind residents that information provided in the census is safe and confidential and that the Census Bureau cannot share it with other agencies.
County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox, D-District 5 of Phoenix, said she especially wanted minority residents to know it was vital to complete the forms.
"We know from past census efforts that minority communities often have the lowest response rate," she said. "You don’t have to be worried or scared to fill out this form."