CORAL SPRINGS, FL - Residents will soon be getting their 2000 U.S. census questionnaire in the mail, and city leaders are making sure residents complete the forms since hundreds of thousands of dollars could be on the line to support schools, health programs, housing, emergency, and other vital services.

And so, Coral Springs has joined other cities in Broward County to reach what’s known as “hard-to-count” communities to make sure residents there fill out the forms.

The city has budgeted $65,000 for a marketing plan to reach those populations and other residents. Laptops or iPads may be purchased. U.S. Census Bureau recommends a local marketing budget of 50 cents a resident.

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The expense is well worth it, since each person listed on a census form is equivalent to nearly $1,500 in federal funding a year for a 10-year period, said Alexander Nonamaker, a city planner and city census coordinator.

“That budget will allow staff to reach out to the predicted low-response areas in Coral Springs. We will be conducting a traditional and non-traditional marketing and outreach program,” Nonamaker said in an email. “The budget allows us to purchase items for traditional advertising like banners and car magnets. It also allows staff to hold events with community leaders and trusted voices who can provide education and ease the concerns of residents who are unlikely to respond.”

For months, the city staff has spread the word about taking the census through a grassroots messaging campaign by reaching out to local committees and advisory boards. According to Nonamaker, those groups are:

- Interfaith Committee headed by Vidalis Lopez.

- Hard to Enumerate Committee run by Carol Smith.

- Promotions Committee led by Gulie Carrington.

- Cultural and Ethnic Committee headed by Arnode Thelemaque.

Most households can start participating in the census around mid-March, when letters with instructions are scheduled to be sent to 95 percent of homes around the nation. By that time, Coral Springs will move from the “educational phase” to the “motivational phase” through traditional advertisements around the city.

In all, the data collected from the census count will determine how more than $675 billion of federal funding is spent each year on state-level infrastructure and services across the country.

Here’s how you can take the census, as explained by Nonamaker. There are three ways: on the internet, by phone, and by mail.

In March 2020, you will get an invitation to go online using your computer or mobile device and answer the census questions.

If they don’t have internet access at home, you can visit any Broward County library and use a library computer to complete the census. Library staff will assist you.

You can also call a toll-free number to speak with a census staff member who will be able to assist you.

Or you can complete a paper questionnaire and mail it in.

Finally, if you don’t respond by internet, phone, or mail, or if you don’t answer all the questions by the end of April 2020, a census employee will visit your home in-person to record your answers.