Milton Township address change causing Census chaosPublished 9:00am Friday, March 26, 2010
By AARON MUELLER
Niles Daily Star
A recent change in addresses in Milton Township has spelled troubled for the U.S. Census Bureau this year.
Milton Township, which is located between Niles and Edwardsburg in Cass County and home to about 1,200 people, changed all its homes and businesses from three and four-digit addresses to five-digit addresses.
The resolution was approved in 2008 and all of the addresses were changed by last summer.
“Howard and Milton Township were the only counties not in the five-digit system,” said Township Supervisor Robert Benjamin, who was not in office when the decision was made. “Literally everyone got a new address. Some people even got new road names.”
The addresses were changed to make houses and businesses easier to find for firefighters.
The new addresses have been a source of confusion for the U.S. Census regional office in Kalamazoo.
“Mail response has been really low,” Wiemerslage said. “We’re gathering old and new addresses together and making sure that we get mailouts to everybody or knock on their doors.”
Response has only been 8 percent so far, according to Wiemerslage. Participation rate nationwide is at 20 percent.
At last week’s board meeting, Benjamin received several complaints from residents about not getting census materials. Others reported receiving two questionnaires.
Benjamin hasn’t received his questionnaire either and has been working with Cass County and the Census regional office to straighten things out. He said Milton Township and the county tried to address the issue with the Census office last year, but officials at the office said the problem would work itself out.
Clearly it hasn’t, and Benjamin is concerned that his township will not get an accurate count.
“It is extremely important,” Benjamin said. “This is going to set the (funding) for the township and the state.”
Wiemerslage is confident the Census office is going to get everything worked out.
“We’re prepared to knock on all their doors if necessary,” he said.
How is your area doing?
The U.S. Census Bureau and Google have teamed up to track response rates by geographical areas via Google Maps and Google Earth.
Check how your city or township is doing at http://2010.census.gov/2010census/take10map.
The Census Bureau announced Wednesday that nationwide about 20 percent of the forms have been completed and sent back in the first week since being sent out. Taxpayers can save $85 million for each 1 percent of the population that return the forms. If 100 percent of households respond, taxpayers would save $1.5 billion, according to the U.S. Census Web site.