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Census numbers mean more money

BY ALLIE WRIGHT | FEBRUARY 15, 2011 7:20 AM

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A population increase in Johnson County will likely mean more federal money for local transportation improvements, but officials aren’t yet sure how much they’ll receive.

According to the 2010 Census, Johnson County saw a nearly 18 percent increase in residents, from 111,006 in 2000 to 130,882 in the most recent data.

Iowa City saw a population increase of more than 9 percent, with 67,862 people.

And as local officials examine census results, they’ll look at which departments need funding most. For now, public roads seem to be the main area for concern, local officials said.

Johnson County Supervisor Janelle Rettig said the approximately 950 miles of roads in the county are in need of repair.

“All [of the roads] are loved and used a lot,” she said. “We have non-hard surface roads with as high of traffic counts as some highways. There is not ever enough money for roads.”

Rettig said social services and block grants are likely to receive federal funding, but “roads are the ones everyone zeros in on.”



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Iowa City City Councilor Regenia Bailey said a potential increase in federal funding for the Iowa City transportation could be used for street improvements in the city. She pointed to several areas that are growing.

“We know that there are two areas that are growing, the Iowa City and Cedar Rapids corridor, Interstate 380 and Interstate 35 through Des Moines,” said.

City and county officials may be able to partly credit University of Iowa students if they receive more federal funding.

Thanks to an effort from UI officials to encourage students living in residence halls to register with Iowa City, approximately 95 percent participated in the census, said Carrie Kiser-Wacker, assistant to the director of University Housing and Dining.

University Housing & Dining employees worked very closely with the Census Bureau to spread information to students and resident assistants in order to ensure registration was returned in a timely manner.

While the UI doesn’t directly receive any federal funding related to the census, Kiser-Wacker said she’s proud of the number of students who participated in the census last spring.

“All [federal funding] comes through the city of Iowa City and then trickles down to the university as a whole,” Kiser-Wacker said. Officials don’t yet know where they’ll spend any money they receive.
Bailey said it makes sense for the university to include students in the census numbers, because they are using the city’s infrastructure.

Johnson County Auditor Tom Slockett said the 2010 census numbers in Johnson County will mean the number of precincts will increase in Coralville and North Liberty.

And Johnson County will be allowed 4.3 legislative districts, up from 3.8, Slockett said.


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