Looking ahead to the 2020 Census, the Delaware County Board of Commissioners approved the Complete Count Process Committee and appointed Executive Director Scott Sanders, Delaware County Regional Planning Commission, as the chairman of the committee.
“Several years ago, Auditor (George) Kaitsa contacted me and asked if we would be willing to head up the process,” Sanders said, adding April 1, 2020, is known as Census Day, which kicks off the beginning of the census.
“We are at the one year count down,” he added.
Sanders said the county is not responsible for the count. Instead, the count is responsible for getting the word out that the census is coming. He said since the census happens once every 10 years, it makes it very important to get a complete count.
“It is identified in the Constitution,” he said. “The first census was conducted in 1790 and every 10 years since. It seeks to count every person living in the U. S. at the time of the count.”
Sanders said the census is important because it establishes the total number of Congressional seats in the country. He said it’s especially important in Ohio since the state is predicted to lose a seat in the 2020s.
As a local agency, Sanders said his department uses the count as a baseline for future population and housing predictions.
“So, it’s important to get everybody counted,” he said. “We would like to have a meeting with public information officers from the larger agencies in the county … to get together and just talk about ways we can get the word out.”
Commissioner Gary Merrell asked if Sanders knew if illegal immigrants were counted as part of the census.
“Illegals should not be counted,” he said. “They will affect the representation of a state like California. They will be over-represented if you count illegals.” Merrell said he thought a count that effects the representation in Washington, D.C. needs to “be limited to citizens of our country.”
In other matters, the board proclaimed this week to be Public Health Week in Delaware County.
“We are very proud of the fact that Delaware County was named again by Robert Wood Johnson as the number one healthiest county in the state,” said Health Commissioner Shelia Hiddleson, Delaware General Health District. “That is not a grade card of the health district but is truly a reflection of the partnership we have with all of our community members to work to make us healthier.”
Hiddleson added that U.S. News & World Report has named Delaware County as the ninth healthiest county in the country.
“Up from number 12 last year,” she said.
In her presentation, The Community Health Improvement Plan, Hiddleson said it is the 100th anniversary of public health in Ohio.
“Our health district had our very first meeting in January of 1920,” she said. “We will probably have a little something going next January.”
Hiddleson said the district will be looking at mental health, substance abuse, and bullying and suicide, which are the three top things the district will be watching this year. She said the new one that the district is adding is pain management.
“We know that a lot of folks that end up addicted start out with receiving pain medicine and somehow just don’t get off that pain medicine,” she said. “Then when that prescription runs out they start to look for different ways to find the drug to keep their habits going.”
Hiddleson said the district is working with the physicians across the county to look at alternative solutions to pain management. She also said the district will work with the public, educating them on what the addition looks like.
The board will meet again Thursday, April 4, at 9:30 a.m. at 101 N. Sandusky St., Delaware.
Contact D. Anthony Botkin at 740-413-0902. Follow him on Twitter @dabotkin.