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Hartselle Enquirer

Census change would help city

By By Leada Gore, Hartselle Enquirer
Hartselle officials are hoping a change in the way the census is calculated will help its chances of receiving federal funding.
The federal government is readying for the 2010 census, a count of US residents that occurs every 10 years. Under current regulations, contiguous municipalities have to meet certain population requirements on the connecting portions to qualify as members of the same metropolitan area. That hurts Hartselle, as its connection to Decatur includes the Wheeler Wildlife Refuge. The refuge has no population, something that in the federal government’s eyes cuts Hartselle from Decatur.
This means Hartselle’s not included in the federal government’s Decatur MPA, limiting the funding it can receive as part of the larger area.
Similar problems are seen in Prattville and Montgomery, where the two are separated by the Alabama River and Morgan County’s Burningtree area, which is separated from Decatur by commercial property.
Hartselle officials are hoping the census regulations will be changed to account for these non-populated areas. They presented the request during the recent visit to Washington by local officials.
The census is scheduled to begin April 2010.