Port McNeill’s mayor is making an impassioned plea to folks who’ve yet to complete the census — get it done.
“The census numbers are extremely important to each municipality and the regional district because it’s on the basis of our population we get the per capita grants from the provincial government,” Gerry Furney told the Gazette.
“We’re talking about whatever grants we get from the provincial government are based on the population of each community and it’s in the hundreds of thousands of dollars — in Port McNeill it’s in the range of five hundred thousand bucks.”
A census occurs every five years and the long-servng mayor said he believes many were missed in the last one.
“A lot of people think it’s just government bureaucracy and they shouldn’t respond to it and for that reason I believe Port McNeill, Port Hardy and probably Port Alice lost out on the numbers that should be included,” he said.
“The census people said there was still a considerable number that have not filed their census this year.”
The main source of income for any municipality is, of course, property taxes.
“Along with that there is the per capita grant,” said Furney.
“The general operation of the municipality is based on the income we get from the per capita grants from the provincial government and I want to make sure every person is listed so that when we do ask the province to do something for us we can justify it by saying, ‘Look we have 2,000 people,’ or whatever it may be.
“If we can show the community is increasing in size, there’s more obligation on the province to provide services.”
Furney said if just 10 per cent of the population doesn’t fill out the census, about $50,000 in provincial per capita cash would be lost.
“It cheeses me off if even one person is missed, because that means it would affect some portion of that basic grant,” said Furney, who noted lower numbers would also affect municipalities’ ability for short term capital loans from the province.
“That is based strictly on your population and the only way to get approval is to have the strong population to justify it,” he said.
The extended deadline to fill out the census is the end of July.