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News Clip: Census fails to reach newer residents

From the April 2, 2010 edition of the Jersey Journal

Yesterday was National Census Day, the day all residents were asked to return their completed forms.

But several high-rises in Jersey City - which is working hard to outpace Newark as the state's largest municipality - never received Census forms.

A resident of The Regent in the Liberty Harbor North development called The Jersey Journal yesterday after reading a story in yesterday's paper about Jersey City's low Census response and said she never received a Census form.

As it turns out, neither did her neighbors at the Zenith building in Liberty Harbor and nearby Gull's Cove, as well as Metropolis Towers and Grove Pointe on Marin Boulevard.

These buildings represent thousands of residents.

"It's bad and it's not just here, it's all over. I know New York has had complaints, Newark has had complaints," Mayor Jerramiah T. Healy said last night about the no-Census form dilemma as he handed out palm card reminders to fill out the federal tally sheet at the Pavonia/Newport Path Station.

Aaron Eckenthal, president of the 'A' Condominium Association, at 389 Washington St., said he doesn't think anyone in his 250-unit building received forms.

Eckenthal estimates 1,000 people live in the building and said several residents contacted the U.S. Census Bureau only to be told to call back at a later date.

"I suspect many other Downtown buildings have also been left out," he said. "This could have a significant impact on the population count in Jersey City and the federal and state funding the city receives."

When Healy kicked off the 2010 Census count at City Hall in January, he said the city, and specifically Metropolis Towers, was "grossly undercounted" 10 years ago. The site has over 800 units, but only 40 residents were counted, he said.

While a number of Downtown residents didn't get a Census form, they said they got other notices from the U.S. Census Bureau including post cards with a phone number to call with questions and a reminder to return completed forms.

John Theiroff, a resident at Gull's Cove who didn't get a Census form, said he was able to pick one up at the Main Branch of the Jersey City Public Library, on Jersey Avenue.

Mike Gregorio, a spokesman for the Census Bureau, acknowledged that the Bureau might not have had some of the newer developments on its mailing list, which he said the Bureau is updating.

Gregorio said he expected Census workers to make follow-up visits once they realize the omission.

Healy told Brian Lehrer on WNYC radio yesterday that only about a third of the city has returned forms.

"The way we feel, it's late in the third quarter, so it's not over," he told Lehrer. "We can still pull out this victory. We want to get everybody to fill out those forms and send them back in."

Journal staff writer Patrick Villanova contributed to this story.

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Tags: Census, Jersey-City, Jersey-Journal, News-Clip

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