EAST PALESTINE City or village? Status is still ambiguous
Qualifying for some federal grants may be a problem, the manager said.
By NANCY TULLIS
VINDICATOR SALEM BUREAU
EAST PALESTINE -- There's good news and bad news in East Palestine.
The Ohio secretary of state has declared East Palestine is a city, based on the city's local population count of 5,058.
The federal government, however, still considers the town a village, municipal Manager Patricia Quigley said.
If the federal government recognizes only the U.S. Census 2000 count of 4,917, the city could have difficulty qualifying for some federal grants distributed only to cities, Quigley said.
Challenged count: The city challenged the U.S. Census 2000 count by conducting its own census in April. Municipalities must have a population of 5,000 or more to be a city.
Quigley said the city's recount does not meet the federal government's standards for a census challenge.
Volunteers found the additional residents needed in all parts of the city, Quigley said. The federal standards are that a municipality can refute a U.S. Census by showing a significant area of a community was uncounted, such as an apartment complex, retirement community or an entire city block, she said.
Quigley said, however, that the federal government is revising its standards in May, so city officials likely will wait until June to attempt a challenge of the federal numbers.
Local effort: City officials and volunteers spent two weeks in April organizing and conducting a local census. They staffed phones, distributed and collected census forms, and went door-to-door in an effort to verify East Palestine has at least 5,000 residents.
East Palestine has maintained a population of 5,000 or more since at least the 1940s, according to historical society records.