Census important for city of Jonesboro

By Brandi Hodges - bio | email

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - More people will equal more money, so that's why the 2010 census means so much to some cities in Region 8.  For the city of Jonesboro, more growth could mean a bigger future. 

"What number will that be?  I really don't know," said Jonesboro Mayor Harold Perrin.

Perrin said the city is getting bigger every year.

"We're about a 2.5 increase every year," said Perrin.

"It's very important that we know how we stack up locally with the other communities within the state," said Alderman Gene Vance.

Perrin said the census is more than just knowing how many people live in the town, he says knowing that number can make a difference.

"A lot of our reimbursements that come from the federal government is based on the census count," said Perrin.

"If we get more money it means better services or at least get to keep the services they have," said Vance.

But a big problem is getting everyone counted.

"A small percentage of the people are actually counted.  In other words, probably 40% to 60% of the people and we need everybody counted," said Perrin.

Not only is the city affected by the census count it has a big impact on businesses too.

"We recently opened an Olive Garden.  Olive Garden would not have come here if we didn't have enough population," said Vance.

Perrin said some companies will only come to cities of a certain size.

"That increase from 55,000 to whatever it ends up to be is no question going to help us on economic development," said Perrin.

Just like reaching 55,000 was a big stepping stone for Jonesboro, reaching 70,000 would give us more advantages.

"I can't wait to take those signs down and put up those new signs as you're coming into Jonesboro," said Perrin.

Perrin said when they get the results of the 2010 census they can make better plans for the future of the city and the people who live here.

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