Buerck: City’s 2020 census not accurate

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In 2020, the U.S. Census Bureau was tasked with counting the residents at every municipality in every state in the nation on a specific date of April 1.
The data showed the city of Perryville gained 330 residents, going from 8,225 to 8,555, an increase of 3.1 percent.
“This was an unusual census in that they did in with different methods,” said Perryville city administrator Brent Buerck.
Other areas, in particular college towns, have expressed similar concerns, noted Buerck.
“A lot of those kids were home when they were counting, so they lost, in some cases, thousands of kids,” Buerck said.
Perryville Mayor Ken Baer suggested counting the number of bedrooms. Going back to 2010, and then counting last year, Buerck said this estimate, assuming just one person per bedroom, would have resulted in a net gain of 600 residents.
“It still wouldn’t be quite where I had hoped,” Buerck said. “I was hoping selfishly for 9,000. I thought that would be cool to put a bigger number at the very front. I don’t know that it’s a big deal. I wanted you guys to know I didn’t think the census accurately counted us. We’re just going to continue to learn about what our recourse is.”
The data for Perry County revealed a count of 18,956 for 2020, down slightly from 18,971 in 2010. To the north, Sainte Genevieve County reported a decrease of 334 residents, going from 18,479 to 18,145 in 2021, a drop of 1.4 percent. Cape Girardeau County reported a population gain of 4.2 percent.
In the near future, Buerck said a letter from the U.S. Census Bureau will be sent to the mayor asking if the city has questions or if documentation can be presented that may have led to an inaccurate count.
“We may just to do that, just to get that number changed,” Buerck said. “We’re not getting an extra house person. We’re not losing anything. There is federal funding in some matters is figured out by the census but the county already went down so it’s not figured into the city’s census block level it’s figured into the county. I don’t know that is a whole lot of benefit other than just getting a bigger number.”
Buerck added census data showed the city of Perryville did reported an increase in population larger than many other similar size municipalities in this area with the exception of Jackson.
The city of Jackson reported 15,481 residents in 2020, up 7.9 percent from 13,758 for the 2010 census.
“If you look at southeast Missouri, that can’t be said everywhere,” Buerck said.
The city of Perryville had a self-response rate of 72.6 percent of househoulds that responded to the census by online, by mail or phone. This was up from Missouri’s self-response rate of 65.9 percent.
Perry County reported a self-response rate of 69.7 percent, including 37 percent from the internet. This figure was down from 72.1 percent in 2010.
Projection update (Subhead)
The film projector at the Perry Park Center as not been working since August. Staff at the PPC had been waiting for a replacement part but received guidance from the board earlier this fall to get price quotes for a new projector.
Tuesday evening, the Board of Aldermen approved a bid for a new projection which could be installed as early as next month.
“We took your advice, we went and got quotes on what a new projector would run,” Buerck said. “We did get the part in, but by the time that part was installed, it fixed a $1,500 problem and caused a $9,500 problem. Instead of putting $10,000 back into this piece of equipment, we suggest go ahead and purchase a new one.”
The cost of the new projector is estimated at $53.333.51 through Sonic, which furnished the previous projector. It was among four bids received for a new project and was not the lowest bid. The lowest bid had a cost of $50,000 but the technician team would be coming from Atlanta, not St. Louis, and the city would have to pay transportation and lodging costs for the individuals traveling from Georgia to service the new projector.
“We may either just make or just miss the Christmas break,” Buerck said, adding the order will get placed “right away.”
Derek Boxdorfer of the Park Center said the new projector will use laser technology as opposed to a bulb. “It’s less maintenance for us,” he said. “The picture is going to be crisper, brighter, a little bit better resolution. The screen will fit the projector a little bit better. I think you’ll see a big improvement.”
It is estimated the wait time for installation is about four to six weeks, according to Boxdorfer.

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