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Shepherdstown wins census case

February 27, 2002|BY DAVE McMILLION

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. - Although it cost them $31,000, Shepherdstown town officials have won a challenge of a U.S. Census count that initially showed the village lost 484 people.

Shepherdstown Town Council member Dawn Fye said the discrepancy occurred because four dormitories at Shepherd College were not included in the 2000 Census count as they had been in 1990.

The initial count showed that the town's population fell from 1,287 people in 1990 to 803 in 2000.

The new count shows the town's population is now 1,202, said Fye.

Because video lottery funds from Charles Town Races are distributed to towns in Jefferson County based on population, the count difference ended up costing the town $31,000 in lost video lottery revenues, said Fye.

Even though the town was successful in the challenge, it won't be able to get the money because it has been distributed to other towns, Mayor Jim Auxer has said.

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The town uses the gaming revenue to help pay off loans and for capital improvements, including equipment for the police department and public works, he said.

"Did it kill us? No. But we could have used it," Fye said Monday.

A U.S. Census spokesman confirmed Tuesday that Shepherdstown officials had prevailed in their challenge. Mark Tolbert said the four dormitories at Shepherd College were mistakenly added into the county's population instead of Shepherdstown's.

To challenge the Census count, the town had to file what is called a "count question resolution," said Del. John Doyle, D-Jefferson.

The town operated on the reduced funding amount for about a year before the situation was changed, said Doyle.

State lottery officials immediately began increasing the amount of video lottery proceeds to the town after the Census decision, said Doyle.

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