The Town Council established a Complete Count Committee to raise awareness of the 2020 census and encourage residents to complete and return it.
“I think we realized how important it is for Plainville to be fully counted, especially for both funding and representation,” Councilor Rosemary Morante said. “I'm very happy that we're being proactive with having a group that is going to promote participation in this 2020 census."
The census is used to determine the number of seats a state receives in the U.S. House of Representatives and how $675 billion in federal aid is distributed.
Morante was one of eight nominees unanimously voted onto the Complete Count Committee during the Monday, Sept. 16 Town Council meeting.
Morante is joined by council chair Katherine Pugliese, Board of Education vice chair Nicole Palmiere, Democratic Town Committee chair Rebecca Martinez, Senior Center director Shawn Cohen, Plainville Public Library director Trish Tomlinson, Plainville Food Pantry director Susie Wortz and Jennifer Farina, membership sales and service coordinator at the Wheeler Regional Family YMCA.
More nominees will follow.
Town Manager Robert Lee said town staff worked with Pugliese, Morante and Palmiere – who all volunteered for the committee after two Census Bureau officials pushed for its creation during a presentation to the council in June – to identify members of the community who could speak with residents regarding the 2020 census.
Aside from the original three volunteers, town staff reached out to all the other nominees except for Martinez, who stepped up to volunteer.
"The purpose of the committee would be to promote and encourage response to the 2020 census,” Lee said. “Such a committee would be comprised of a broad spectrum of community leaders and trusted voices, who would develop and implement a 2020 census awareness campaign based upon their knowledge of the Plainville community and to encourage residents to respond.”
Speaking during the June 17 Town Council meeting, Census Bureau official Catherine Marx said that in one of Plainville’s four census tracts, located in the south-western corner of town, 20 percent of residents didn’t fill out the form.
Lee said the Complete Count Committee will work to educate residents who may be reluctant to share personal information with the government. He stressed that any information shared via the census can only be used for statistical purposes by that agency.
Marx’s colleague Mark Plumley stressed that point in June, saying the Census Bureau is prohibited from sharing information with any other government organ, and is kept under tight cybersecurity.
"We cannot share any of the information that we receive from the census with any government or state or federal agency,” Plumley said. “So that is everything from Homeland Security” to Immigration and Customs Enforcement.