Posted Monday, May 11th, 2020
Population Count Vital — Determines Federal Aid for Public Emergencies like COVID-19
The Morris County Board of Freeholders and community representatives from across the county are urging all county residents, from all communities, nationalities, religions, races, and ethnic groups, to complete the 2020 Census this Spring.
Getting an accurate count is vital to ensuring that Morris County gets its fair share of federal aid over the next decade for a host of programs and services, including federal aid for disasters such as Superstorm Sandy and the current COVID-19 crisis.
Currently, the county is missing out on about $85 million in direct federal to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic because it is below a Census-based federal population calculation by just 8,000 people.
“We have to be sure we are fully counted, and that means all residents from all of our communities, so that Morris County is not shortchanged in getting federal dollars for county programs over the nex decade,” said Freeholder Director Deborah Smith.
Not being fully counted has long-term negative ramifications on federal aid we will get for housing, childcare, education, senior and disabled programs, and for transportation, and county road and bridge projects, among many others,| added Freeholder Kathy DeFillippo, who is a member of the Morris County Complete Count Committee.
The county’s initial effort to encourage Census response has been successful in general, but there are some pockets of the county where the count has been lacking, including Harding, far eastern and western sections of Florham Park, and parts of Morristown and Parsippany.
The Morris County Board of Freeholders, with the backing of a bipartisan group of state and federal legislators, recently asked the state and federal governments not to penalize the county to the tune of $80 million to $90 million in direct federal COVID-19 aid because the county is slightly short of a 500,000 county population cutoff figure.
Some $3.4 billion has been allocated to New Jersey from the federal Coronavirus Relief Fund, established by the CARES Act, which was signed into law by President Donald Trump on March 27.
The Fund provided a $2.4 billion direct payment to the State of New Jersey, as well as more than $1 billion of direct payments to New Jersey counties with populations greater than 500,000. Morris County, however, has 491,845 people, which narrowly misses that threshold. Sister counties, such as Passaic and Camden counties, with populations of 501,826 and 506,343 respectively are each getting $88 million in direct federal aid, while Morris County received no direct aid and will have to seek a share of the state’s allotment.
“This shows just how vitally important it is to get every Morris County resident counted. It makes a real difference, ” said Freeholder Tayfun Selen, who also is a member of the Morris County Complete Count Committee.
Morris County Counts 2020
The county kicked off the “Morris County Counts 2020’’ campaign in mid-March, stressing that competition for federal dollars is fierce and the population count is key to bringing back county tax dollars that are sent each year to federal coffers.
Officials in Morris County, which has an estimated population of 494,228 per the 2018 Census estimate, stressed three key points about the Census: Filling out the Census is safe, easy and important.
You can complete the Census even if you did not get one in the mail. You can fill it out online at https://my2020census.gov/