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Census workers on the job

January 11, 2000

LAURA ERNDE / Staff Writer

A Hagerstown office has begun its quest of counting every head in Western Maryland for the 2000 Census.

About 25 people are working out of the third floor of the old Washington Street School at 920 W. Washington St., said Wayne Kline, area manager.

The office is responsible for counting everyone in Garrett, Allegany, Washington, Frederick and Carroll counties.

By April, the office expects to have hired about 800 people, most of them part time, Kline said.

Thats about three times as many people as they had for the 1990 Census, he said.

The government wants to make sure there isnt an undercount, he said.

The count is used to divvy up government money for schools, roads and parks and to determine election districts.

Because of an undercount in 1990, Washington County alone lost an estimated $14 million in federal aid, Kline said.

"We could have sure used that money, even toward the sewer debt," Kline said.

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Some people were not counted because they didnt turn in their census forms.

Kline stressed that all census information is confidential.

Right now, census workers are busy recruiting census takers and getting the census forms ready.

Postcards will be mailed telling residents to expect the surveys.

The census office in Hagerstown will hold an open house from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Jan. 19, Kline said.

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