Osyka aldermen want a complete count of their citizenry next year as much as the U.S. Census Bureau.

They met with census representative Kristi Hicks to learn more about how they can help encourage the process.

“We want you to use your voice to make sure your constituents know how important a complete count is,” Hicks told board members.

She reminded the board members that census figures are used to allocate federal money for everything from Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits to highway funds.

While some people are leery of providing information to government agencies for various reasons, Hicks said the census bureau cannot divulge any of the information it collects under Title 13 of the U.S. Code.

All census information must remain confidential for 72 years under Title 44, she said.

Mayor Allen Applewhite expressed concerns that Osyka residents would be undercounted because census forms are only delivered to physical addresses.

“P.O. boxes are an issue here,” Applewhite said.

Hicks said citizens can respond to the census online or by phone for the first time this year, and if known people or addresses are not represented in responses, enumerators will be sent to knock on doors.

She said she could also have census forms delivered to city hall for distribution.

The census will officially begin on April 15.

In other business, the board:

• Paid $102,775 for its wastewater collection system rehabilitation project, including $6,200 to the Ferguson Group, $2,106.20 to WGK Engineers and $94,468.80 to Suncoast Infrastructure.

• Hired Verbalee Watts to perform the town’s 2018-2019 audit.

• Approved Osyka Civic Club events, including the breast cancer awareness fun run on Oct. 12 and Christmas Fest and fireworks on Dec. 14.

• Approved Wreaths Across America in Veterans Park on Dec. 14.

• Approved the municipal compliance questionnaire, which is required as part of the town’s audit.

• Proclaimed October as Racial Reconciliation Celebration Month.

• Noted a water loss of 28.96% in August, down from 39.62% in July.

• Received $236 from court fines and fees in August.

• Noted five tickets written in August, including three for driving without a license, one for running a stop sign and one for expired tag.

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