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Andalusia officials offer Census rewards

For Andalusia residents, filling out the U.S. Census form could mean grants for their city and cash for their own pockets.

Andalusia Mayor Earl Johnson said Friday city residents have two ways to “cash in” for filling out the Census forms.

“After everything is said and done, the district who reports the largest percentage of increase in population will receive free garbage service for a month,” Johnson said. “That’s the first way and doesn’t require any effort on the resident’s part except for filling out the form.

“The second is a little more interesting,” he said. “And it means cash money.”

After completing and mailing their completed Census forms, residents are asked to bring the form’s mailing envelope – the one that housed the questionnaire – to a drop off point at city hall, labeled with their name, address and phone number.

Three envelopes will be drawn at the end of the Census process, he said.

“The owner of the first envelope drawn will receive $200; the second, $300 and the third, $500,” he said. “We’re going to take it on faith that these people have completed their Census form and mailed it in because we believe so strongly about what the Census can mean for Andalusia.

“Why? Because every federal or state dollar that is tied to population numbers will use this Census information to determine if Andalusia meets the requirements,” he said. “These numbers could mean millions in dollars for Andalusia. You hear people say ‘we need this national fast food chain or that retail store.’ Well, the first thing they look at is the Census number to determine if our population will sustain it. If we don’t have the numbers, it goes no further.”

Winners’ addresses will be verified to determine if they live inside the city limits.

For those who do not have an official Census envelope or if a Census worker takes the information, Johnson said residents should ask for some documentation from the worker that would substitute in the place of an envelope.

A red barrel will be placed at the utility drive-through located next to city hall and available for usage Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Census forms should be completed and mailed by April 1.