Page 30 - Scene Magazine 45-03 March 2020
P. 30

  B.C. City Scene
BY REBECCA FLEURY Battle Creek City Manager
     can have an impact on the next 10 years of your life.
Battle Creek Transit is another city de- partment that would experience significant impact from a drop in our population.
The Census is the head count of every person living in the United States, con- ducted every 10 years. The U.S. Census Bureau uses this data, in part, to compile statistics about our population that inform government programs and their funding.
The city’s funds for street maintenance come from state Act 51, fed by the gas and weight taxes. We receive our portion of funds – about $8.5 million this year – based on a formula that accounts for our miles of local roads, major roads, and state routes.
Our transit system is classified as “small urban,” since we have a population of 50,000-199,999. This places us in a Federal Transit Administration formula allocating us about $1.4 million that we use for operating expenses – staff and services. This helps with our $4 million operating budget.
Census data is critically important for the City of Battle Creek, particularly relat- ed to the total population count. The Cen- sus Bureau estimated our 2018 population at 51,247, and I want to tell you some stories from the city that demonstrate why we want every neighbor counted, so that our population tally remains above 50,000 – #50Kstrong.
As part of this current distribution, we also receive a state reimbursement of 39 cents per dollar we spend on operations.
That is our slogan to encourage every person in the city to complete
the 2020 Census survey. As another slogan goes – 10 minutes, for less than 10 questions,
drop below 50,000, the multiplier drops to 1.5, a difference of approximately $300,000.
Battle Creek Counts!
The formula includes a multiplier based on our population. Right now, that multiplier is 1.6. Should our population
If our population drops below 50,000, we become a “rural” transit system. We no longer would receive federal funds direct- ly, but would become one of at least 83 agencies across Michigan to share a pot of about $24 million. We estimate this would provide us with $740,000 for operations – half of what we currently receive.
That loss would require us to consider cutting street maintenance services like pothole patching, street sweeping, snow plowing, or eliminating about two miles of local street repaving – all important to our community.
  Because we would spend less on operations under that scenario, we would receive less state reimbursement, a double hit to our Transit budget.
 This could potentially mean cutting Tele-Transit to service only those passen- gers who are ADA-eligible – a small per- centage of the current list of passengers who use this service for work, medical appointments, and much more. If that did not cover the funding cut, we would look at cutting service hours, probably starting our services later in the morning, and ending them earlier in the evening.
              These are just two examples of the many important ways Census data could impact the City of Battle Creek. I hope you will complete the 2020 Census survey by Census Day – April 1 – and encourage your friends, family, co-workers, and others to do so too. Our services depend on it.
                 Funeral Directors: Fred Bachman & Lexie Stygar
223 N. Bedford Rd., Battle Creek . 269-965-5145 .
For more information, visit 2020census. gov, which provides many answers to cen- sus questions. You also can watch an epi- sode of Keeping You Informed this month about the 2020 Census, Commissioner Lynn Ward Gray’s monthly city program. Watch at 6pm on Wednesdays on Access- Vision, or on demand at

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