Grayson County commissioners are taking the upcoming census count very seriously. After spending the past few months discussing the issue, commissioners will call for a vote Tuesday on using an outside company to help get the word out about the importance of the count.


Commissioners will consider approving a “services agreement with Billow Marketing for a comprehensive plan to reach target demographics including historically under-counted populations utilizing a “walking” or “boots on the ground” platform,” Grayson County Purchasing Agent Jodi Platt said in materials for the court’s meeting.


The meeting where the vote will take place will start at 10 a.m. the Grayson County Courthouse in Sherman.


Platt said the services to be provided under that agreement can be exempted from the competitive bidding process requirement.


Grayson County Commissioner Phyllis James and County Engineer Clay Barnett have been working on the county’s desire to make sure there is an accurate count in Grayson County for months.


Back in June, Barnett told a meeting of the Sherman-Denison Metropolitan Planning Organization that an under count could cost the county nearly $7.63 million. He said that in 2010, only about 76 percent of the people in the region responded to the census. Using the 2010 numbers, Barnett said, Grayson County is estimated to have a population of about 126,000 in the 2020 Census.


“In actuality, MPO and state research suggests the population in this area is closer to 135,000,” Barnett said.


He said it is important to get an accurate count because the numbers are not just used for one year. They are in fact used to determine funding for up to ten years. Grayson County Judge Bill Magers told the SDMPO that having the numbers be off by ten person could cost the county as much as $200 million by the decades end and it could impact everything from transportation to Medicaid funding.


The census documents are expected to be mailed out to residents in late March, and online responses will be accepted starting on April 1. The U.S. Census Bureau will also accept mail-in and phone responses, with a deadline of July 24, 2020.


Criminal Justice Editor Jerrie Whiteley can be reached at JWhiteley@HeraldDemocrat.com.


Herald Democrat reporter Michael Hutchins contributed to this report.