PATERSON, NJ – The Paterson Restoration Corporation has agreed to pay $25,000 for the city to appeal its 2010 census count, officials said.

The money will be used to retain a Washington-based organization called the Social Compact to help municipal officials review the census count and present data that can be used in filing an official challenge, officials said.

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The stakes are high. City officials had hoped the 2010 census would push Paterson’s population above 150,000 and give it “city of the first class” status. That would have improved Paterson’s chances at getting millions of dollars in various forms of federal funding. Also, officials said that as a “first class” city Paterson would be able to conduct a national search for its next police chief instead of having to promote someone already working in the municipal police department.

But the 2010 census put Paterson's population at 146,199, which represented a slight decline from the 2000 figure of 149,222.

City officials have questioned the accuracy of that number, saying they believe many immigrants may not have participated in the count.

Jersey City last year also retained Social Compact for its census challenge. That decision is still pending, according to a spokeswoman for the Jersey City mayor’s office.