Monday, April 19, 2010

CB 10 Far Behind in Census Form Returns by Lisa Fogarty - Queens Chronicle

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The neighborhoods that make up Community Board 10 are lagging behind when it comes to returning their Census Bureau forms, according to statistics, which indicate the district had only a 38 percent rate of return as of April 9 — below the boroughwide, citywide, statewide and national averages.

Despite the public efforts of numerous local elected officials, Mayor Mike Bloomberg and CB 10 to press for compliance, Richmond Hill, South Richmond Hill, Ozone Park, South Ozone Park and Old Howard Beach all showed a less than 50 percent rate of return. Old Howard Beach was just a few percentage points shy of the halfway mark, with a 48 percent return.

The lowest percentages were recorded in South Richmond Hill, Ozone Park and Richmond Hill, in which the area between 100th and 117th Streets and along 103rd Avenue showed only a 29 percent return rate, far below the national average of 65 percent, Queenswide average of 49 percent, citywide average of 50 percent and statewide average of 58 percent.

“We’re cheating ourselves out of future federal dollars much needed to help fund all the services we desire for our neighborhoods,” said CB 10 Chairwoman Betty Braton, who urged residents to answer the 10 Census questions and mail back the form.

The highest Census rates of return in the borough have been recorded in Little Neck, Bay Terrace, Douglaston and Glen Oaks, where the rate is higher than 70 percent. Meanwhile, returns barely reached 40 percent in areas of Jamaica and southeastern Queens.

As of April 9, only two neighborhoods in the CB 10 district — “new” Howard Beach and Lindenwood — had a return rate of more than 50 percent.

The data collected from the Census is used to help appropriate federal funding for schools, bridges and tunnels, emergency services, job training centers, senior centers and hospitals, according to officials. The numbers are also used to help determine how many seats each state should get in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Between May 1 and July 10, the Census Bureau will send workers out to knock on the doors of those who did not return their forms. The effort will cost taxpayers $25 per person, according to the bureau.