Special Censuses May Mean More Cash, Control

Article excerpt

Byline: Amy E. Williams Daily Herald Correspondent

A lot has changed in three years.

New babies have been born. Apartment complexes have gone up. And entire new subdivisions have been built in the Tri-Cities.

In hopes of cashing in on all of the state aid they are entitled to, city officials in Batavia, Geneva and St. Charles are in the midst of conducting special censuses to ensure all of the residents in their communities are counted.

The Illinois Municipal League estimates that for each resident they have, communities receive approximately $97 from the state. The revenues come from sources such as state income tax and motor fuel taxes, which are distributed to cities and villages based on population counts. So officials in the Tri-Cities want to make sure that each and every one of their residents is counted, will allowing them to receive the maximum amount they can from the state.

For Geneva, where officials believe their 2000 census population of 19,515 has grown by about 1,600 in the past three years, that could mean $155,200 more per year than the city currently receives.

Compared with the $50,000 cost of conducting the special census, officials feel the process is a good way to pump more money into the general fund, Assistant City Administrator Mary McKittrick said.

St. Charles officials, who estimate their current population has grown to more than 30,000 - up from the 27,896 counted in the last census, agreed.

"The city has annexed extra land since 2000 and various apartment buildings have gone up," said Diane Erickson, accounting and finance manager for the city of St. Charles. "If it's 30,000 people that would give us a lot of extra revenue.

"We've actually budgeted for a little lower than that because you never know what will happen with the state, but we know we'll get more than we get now by doing this," Erickson said. …