Some Pelham residents still not receiving census forms

During the April 5 Pelham City Council meeting, Mayor Don Murphy announced that many residents have still not received their 2010 U.S. Census form, and he wants answers.

“That’s a sore spot with me,” Murphy said. “Why are they advertising with millions of dollars during the Super Bowl when they can’t even mail the forms out?

“It’s just plain stupidity,” he added.

Edward Davis, a partnership coordinator with the Atlanta Census Region, which serves Alabama, said the process of mailing out the census is just one phase of counting, and that residents who haven’t received their form shouldn’t panic yet.

“We obviously have 130 million census forms being mailed,” Davis said. “We ask that no one get alarmed yet.”

For residents who have not yet received their census form, Murphy and Davis recommend they go by the Pelham Public Library and pick one up.

But with people having to go get a form instead of it being mailed directly their house, Murphy worries that the government will not get an accurate count in the city, thus directly affecting federal funding.

“It’s money out of our pocket if we don’t get everybody counted,” Murphy said.

Davis said he understands the concern of city officials, but the counting process is far from over.

“They are very passionate about their community and we want them to be counted,” Davis said. “As much as we strive to be perfect, it is challenging.”

But while Murphy said it would be easy to overlook a few homes or subdivisions that didn’t receive forms, he said 40 percent of his department heads still haven’t received their forms, and they each live in different parts of the city.

Murphy said he’s even had reports that the forms haven’t been delivered to the post office, and he wonders if it is a ploy by the government.

“Is there a conspiracy against this city and this county?” Murphy said. “We live in the most Republican county in the most Republican state. It makes you wonder.

“And this is the same government that’s going to be running our health care,” he added.

Davis said the process of getting the correct forms to the correct addresses can be laborious, and it must go through several layers of checking, including by city officials and census officials.

Murphy said the city has all the addresses and pictures of homes in the city limits, and that any excuse about the delay is just nonsense.

“This is just bull,” Murphy said. “If they’ll just get us the forms, we’ll get them to the people.”

For those who have not received their form after April 12, the U.S. Census will make a toll-free number available for people to call and request a form. Until then, residents can call 1-866-872-6868. Residents can retrieve more information from the U.S. Census Web site at 2010.census.gov.

In early May, census workers will begin going door-to-door to make sure residents have been counted.