LITTLE VALLEY — Cattaraugus County will review addresses provided by municipalities to help assure the upcoming U.S. Census accurately reports county population.
The census is done every 10 years, with the next one scheduled for 2020. The 2010 census showed the county with a population of 80,260. Five years later, that had dropped to 77,920.
That compares to 1980, when the county’s population peaked at 85,697. By 2000, it had dropped to 84,017.
Crystal Abers, director of the county Department of Economic Development, Planning and Tourism, said the New York Department of State is encouraging counties and other municipalities to start preparing now for the census. First on the list are addresses where the census forms will be mailed in 2020.
Abers said many towns have expressed frustration in the past in working with state census officials, and may not participate directly in the upcoming count. However, the county will work with town officials to get any municipal address lists they have to compare them to existing county lists, she explained.
An accurate count is important because federal aid over the following decade is based on those census figures, county officials pointed out.
Abers said the latest state Labor Department statistics show Cattaraugus County’s unemployment rate at 5.3 percent. That’s down from 5.6 percent last year, and more than 3 percent lower than the rate in 2011.
“Our biggest problem now seems to be business looking for workers,” Abers said. “There is a (labor) shortage in Cattaraugus County.”
High schools, BOCES and the Cattaraugus County campus of Jamestown Community College have recognized the need for providing training to meet future labor needs as the labor force ages and retires.
On another issue, the Development and Agriculture Committee agreed to accept the Countywide Trail System Plan prepared by Barton & Loguidice of Rochester with input from trail user groups.
Abers said a good number of applications for Restore New York funding are expected to be submitted by municipalities by Dec. 15. Besides Olean and Salamanca, municipalities expected to submit applications include the villages of Allegany, Franklinville and Cattaraugus.
County Legislature Vice Chairman James J. Snyder, R-Olean, said the applications are too complicated and discourage communities from participating.
Abers said the county plans to submit an application for a Community Block Grant to extend the county’s Manufactured Housing Initiative for $850,000 in 2018. If received, the grant would replace nine mobile homes.
The 2017 program included $500,000 for five new manufactured home to replace dilapidated mobile homes in the county. Recipients agree to live in the new home for 10 years.
(Contact reporter Rick Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter, @RMillerOTH)