Morinville’s online census could mean more grant dollars for community

By Staff

Morinville – The Town of Morinville is getting ready to conduct a census this spring, but this time around residents will be able to submit their information online. Morinville has entered into an agreement with Edmonton-based Pivotal Research to conduct an online census for Morinville residents from May 2 to 15. The company has previously conducted an online census for St. Albert with a 40 per cent response rate.

Morinville’s Legislative Officer Jennifer Maskoske said once the online census concludes, Pivotal Research will disclose those households that did not complete their census online in order for the town to send enumerators door to door to gather the remaining data. She anticipates the door-to-door component will begin May 18 and run until the first week of June.

The Town is hoping residents will take part in the online version of the census, which Maskoske said is easy to do. The Town will be sending out unique personal identification numbers to Morinville households prior to the commencement of the online census. That PIN r allows access to Pivotal’s website where the census will be conducted.

But unlike the federal census, also set to begin in May, Morinville’s will be looking for a little less information.

“We’ve got very generic census questions,” Maskoske said, noting questions include how many members in the household, ages of the householders, occupation, student status, date of birth, and gender. Questions not included on Morinville’s census include questions on residents’ ethnicity and religion.

“Because the federal census will be happening pretty much at the same time as us; we want everyone to be prepared,” Maskoske said. “There will be two door knocks or two requests, because they also have theirs online.”

While conducting a municipal census at the same time as the federal government is conducting theirs may seem like a redundancy, Maskoske explained Morinville’s census is important to the community because the population numbers translate into federal and provincial dollars flowing into the community.

“Our population is attached to quite a few grants,” Maskoske said. “The importance of us having our own census is we will have our numbers. We’ll be able to implement those for 2012, whereas with the federal census we wouldn’t see those numbers probably until at least 2012 – therefore not getting anything [additional grant dollars] until 2013. So you’ve got a year’s worth of grants that you are missing out on.”

Mayor Lloyd Bertschi agreed the online census will benefit the community with respect to additional grant revenues. “We get a lot of per capita grants,” Bertschi said, adding if the census confirms another 60 to 80 residents; the additional grant monies would cover the costs of conducting the municipal census. Morinville is anticipating a cost of $4,773 to conduct the online and offline census, compared to $6,200 using the conventional door-to-door method.

The mayor said both Alberta’s Municipal Sustainability Initiative (MSI) and Street Improvement Grants are per capita grants, the latter providing the community with $60 per resident.

“The MSI was $1.4 million for 7,000 people, so when you do the math that’s two thousand bucks,” the mayor said, adding federal government’s gas tax monies are also calculated on a per capita basis.

Morinville’s last census was conducted in 2008 and revealed the community had 7,636 residents.

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