Council will discuss ways to beef up the city's population.
By NANCY TULLIS
VINDICATOR SALEM BUREAU
EAST PALESTINE -- The next U.S. Census takes place in 2010, but city council believes now is not too soon to plan for it.
Council has scheduled a special meeting at 6:30 p.m. June 4 to discuss ways to attract people to the city.
City officials successfully challenged the U.S. Census 2000 figures by conducting a citywide local census.
Local count accepted: Although the federal government still lists East Palestine's population at 4,917, the Ohio secretary of state accepted the local count of 5,058, and recognizes East Palestine as a city.
If the federal government registry lists East Palestine's population under 5,000, then it is a village rather than a city. That could make obtaining federal grants difficult, as some are doled out only to cities, City Manager Patricia Quigley has said.
Councilwoman Becky Burns said with the city's population so close to the 5,000 mark, city officials should focus on ways to increase the city's population.
"Probably none of us will be on council then, but if we do all we can now, they won't have to be strapped with what we are," Burns said.
Not challenged: The city has not yet challenged the U.S. Census 2000 figures at the federal level because the federal government's process for such a challenge may be changing, Quigley said.
She said the city's recount does not meet the federal government's standards for a census challenge. Those standards state 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.
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.