Grayson County, Sherman, Denison agree to pay $90K

Grayson County has a plan to join with the cities of Sherman and Denison to provide additional help to ensure an accurate count for Census 2020.

County Judge Bill Magers said the count could impact the county for a decade to come in a number of ways including transportation funding, Medicaid funding and redistricting.

Magers said he has worked with Billow Marketing in the past and could vouch for their expertise in the area, and Tuesday, commissioners quickly approved the personal services agreement with Billow exempting them from the competitive bid requirements.

Next, commissioners turned their attention to paying for the project. Magers said the cities of Sherman and Denison have agreed to share the cost of the project based on their population.

The court Tuesday agreed to pay Billow $65,000 for the project. That is to be split into two payments of $32,500. The city of Sherman agreed to pay $15,000 of that expense and the city of Denison will pay $10,000.

“If Clay (Barnett, county engineer) where here today he would (explain) the millions of dollars in transportation dollars and social services dollars that are on the table right now. It is so vitally important that we have an accurate count — an under count costs millions,” Magers said.

“I will also share with you our neighbors to the south are already spending a heck of a lot more money than we are to make sure that their count is correct,” he added.

He said the local boots-on-the ground imitative is aimed at making sure all sections of the population in Grayson County get accurately reflected in the count.

The committee that has been working getting the best count possible includes, Barnett, County Purchasing Agent Jodi Platt, Sherman Assistant City Manager Terrence Steele, United Way of Grayson County President Stephanie Chandler, Denison City Manager Jud Rex, and Grayson County Commissioner Phyllis James.

“These folks have been working behind the scenes hours upon hours getting this ready so that we can move forward,” Magers said. “It is vitally important to Grayson County.

Steele said the city of Sherman, “Is glad to partner with the county as well as Denison to make sure that we get everyone counted for the census.” He said James has led the group for months, putting the game plan together. “And today, after this vote, we will be able to implement that game plan.”

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.