Grayson County Commissioners approved the idea of hiring a public relations firm Tuesday to help with the public outreach on the 2020 census.


Commissioners have not picked a particular firm yet, Grayson County Judge Bill Magers said, as the approval Tuesday was just for solicitation for bids and proposals for such a firm. Those proposals must be received by the county by 2 p.m. on May 22.


Magers said no decisions had been reached about whether the county would be paying that firm on its own or if local cities might be asked to help. The firm’s work would most likely be helping the county educate people about the importance of the census.


Grayson County Commissioner Phyllis James, who has been put in charge of the census for the county, said some people are concerned about their personal information getting out to the public via the census.


“The Census is sealed for 72 years,” James said of the information about individuals.


That data and the numbers are there, she explained, for use in allocating federal and state funds, but the personal information is sealed. The last one released, James said, was the 1940 Census. She then asked who will care about their personal address being released 72 years from now.


James stressed the need for everyone to participate in the Census is significant because the numbers are vital to the area in getting grants and other monies. For that reason, she said, public education about the census is vital.


Jerrie Whiteley is the criminal justice editor for the Herald Democrat. Contact her at jwhiteley@heralddemocrat.com or on Twitter @jlwhiteley.