ST. ANTHONY — At the last city council meeting, council members agreed that the city will reach out to Brigham Young University-Idaho students, and pay them to create a survey that will assess if the area has more than 51 percent of their residents living with low to moderate income. If St. Anthony is found to have more than 51 percent of its residents with low to moderate income levels, the city will once again qualify to apply for grants they otherwise do not qualify for at this time.
During a council meeting in mid-June, the council was approached by Ted Hendricks with concerns that the census miscounted the number of low to moderate income residents in the area. He said they went from above 51 percent of all residents having low to moderate income to about 49 percent, making the city ineligible to apply for block grants.
Hendricks said that he and his associates could put a survey together for $6,000 to $9,000. He added that the city could use the survey, for the next five years. However,t here is no guarantee that after doing a survey, the percent of residents saying that their income is above low to moderate will change in anyway from what the census says.
After the meeting, the council decided to think on it and make a formal decision on what to do regarding the survey at their next meeting, which was held at the end of last week.
There doesn’t seem to be a deadline that will keep the city from creating and distributing the survey to contest the census.
The next census is scheduled to be in 2020 but it could be pushed back due to confusion in Washington over whether or not a citizenship question will be added to the census survey.
The city has not negotiated with any professors or students at BYU-Idaho yet nor have they decided how much they will pay for the survey and services but agreed to pay a “reasonable amount”. They will not have to open up the budget as the city will consider it a “professional service.”
According to the city attorney, this is not the first time that students have worked on a survey like this in St. Anthony.
City Clerk Patty Parkinson, who recently went to a training on the census, said that tools and guidelines are easily accessible to the city and anyone they plan to work with.
“Everything is laid out,” Mayor Donald Powell said. “It’s all right there how it’s gotta be done.”
After a brief discussion, a motion was made, seconded, and unanimously approved to contact the university and discuss a reasonable compensation for them to work with the city on a survey.