Over the past several months, the Genesee County Department of Planning was diligent in getting the word out about the 2020 Census.
At every opportunity, Planning Director Felipe Oltramari made it known the significance of the census upon local governments, with statements such as the following (paraphrased):
“The census not only counts our population, but determines our congressional representation and the allocation of federal funding to numerous programs, including Medicaid and Head Start, and to hospitals, fire departments and other vital services.”
On Monday afternoon, Oltramari reported the results of the efforts of his department – which was assisted by the Genesee/Finger Lakes Regional Planning Council -- during a planning department review at the Genesee County Legislature’s Public Service Committee meeting at the Old County Courthouse.
Oltramari said that the self-responded percentage in Genesee County was 65.6 percent, a bit higher than the percentage for all of New York State (64.2 percent, according to the 2020 Census website). The remaining 35.7 percent of the state population was obtained by census takers – officially called Enumerated in Nonresponse Followup.
The state’s total of 99.9 percent enumerated is the figure reported by 2020 Census for every state in the union through Oct. 16, which was the census deadline day.
“The additional percentage was in-person enumeration – persons going to homes and sometimes visiting their neighbors, by proxy, to reach the 99.9 percent mark,” Oltramari said. “We don’t get to see the totals for all the counties at this point – only the statewide results.”
Per the 2020 Census tabulations, Minnesota had the highest self-responded percentage at 75.1 percent and Maine had the lowest at 58.2 percent. Again, through the work of the census takers, all states are within 1/10th of 1 percent of having everybody counted.
In reviewing this year’s accomplishments, Oltramari said that the 2020 census outreach was his department's "biggest project of the year."
He also reported that the planning board: is projected to handle 110 zoning referrals; kicked off a comprehensive plan update and recreation plan known as Genesee 2050; hosted or sponsored more than 20 training seminars and webinars for local officials; and continued to provide mapping, Geographic Information Systems (GIF), Pictometry support and training to county departments, local municipalities and the general public.
“We also provide local technical assistance on projects such as the solar project in Byron and the Darien comprehensive plan, and assist with planning and zoning issues to help municipalities save money,” he said.
For 2021, special projects include continuing with the comprehensive plan update and recreation plan, working on a county resiliency plan, taking the lead on an environmental review of Phase 3 of the county’s water project and review of Agricultural District No. 4 (Byron, Bergen, Stafford and Elba).
Oltramari said the department will maintain three full-time employees – director, deputy director and GIS technician – with 96 percent of its budget going to cover salaries and fringe benefits.