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Sharpsburg hits Census goal of 65 percent

April 09, 2000|By BRENDAN KIRBY

Sharpsburg has become the second town in the Tri-State area to reach its census goal, according to the latest figures supplied by the U.S. Census Bureau.

In 1990, 60 percent of census questionnaires sent to homes in Sharpsburg were mailed back. On Thursday night, the town's rate hit 65 percent, which the agency set as a goal. By Friday evening, the total reached 66 percent.

"Fantastic. That's great," Sharpsburg Mayor George Kesler said upon hearing the news. "At the rate we're going, I wouldn't be surprised if we hit 80 percent. That's a lofty goal, but it's worth shooting for."

Sharpsburg joins Clear Spring as the only area communities to reach their targets, which were determined for each area by adding 5 percentage points to their 1990 response rate.

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People still have about a week to return their census forms. After that, the bureau will send census takers to personally contact households that have not responded.

Nationally, 59 percent of households have responded.

Among counties in the Tri-State area, response ranges from a low of 48 percent in Morgan County, W.Va., to 67 percent in Frederick County, Md.

Washington County's response rate, 64 percent, is 9 percentage points away from the goal.

"If we go 2 percent a day for the next five days, we'll hit it," said Norman Bassett, coordinator of the Washington County Complete Count Committee.

Census spokeswoman Terry Willis said officials hope for a strong push in the final stretch.

"It's hard to project. We're still trying to urge people to send the forms back in," she said. "We are optimistic, always. But we are realistic, also."

Bassett said people who never got a census form can pick up one at the county housing office at 33 W. Washington St.

In addition, senior citizens can get help filling out forms Tuesday between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. at Blue Mountain Estates in Smithsburg.

Kesler urged Sharpsburg residents to keep striving for a more complete count.

"We're still putting up posters and talking up the census," he said.

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