Only 40.7% of Greene County households have completed the Census Greene County’s Census response rate lags behind state and national rates

By John Zippert,
Co-Publisher
Greene County Democrat

According to the U.S. Census2020 website as of today, only 40.7% of the households in Greene County have responded to the Census, which counts the population of the entire country every ten years. The 40.7% rate for Greene County lags behind the national rate of 61.4% and the State of Alabama’s rate of 59.8%.
Marilyn Stephens, Assistant Regional Manager of the Atlanta Region, which includes the State of Alabama, said “ Take ten minutes today to help ensure benefits to your community for the next ten years!”
Stephens indicated that the coronavirus pandemic had delayed and interfered with some of the schedule for the Census, including house-to-house visits, but that the Census takers would soon be coming around.
In the meantime, Stephens suggested that those households that have not completed the 2020 Census, can call the toll free number: 1-844-330-2020 and answer the questions by phone. She said you can also use your cell phone, tablet or computer and go to: my2020Census.gov, and complete the Census online.
Those persons who never received, lost or misplaced the original communication from the Census, which had an identification number, can call in or report online based on their address. Stephens said, “Don’t worry about a deadline, for you the deadline is today, to complete your Census.”
Stephens said there are two main reasons, why Greene County residents should complete the Census, “First, the population count in the Census is used to determine the apportionment of districts for U. S. Congress, the state legislature and local electoral districts. So if you do not participate in the Census, your state, county and city may lose representation and a voice in making important policy decisions that will affect your life.

“Second, the Census count is used in distributing $675 Billion or more in Federal and state dollars each year for programs for healthcare, rural hospitals, school lunch programs, senior citizens meals, Headstart, Community Development Block Grants, SNAP, WIC and highway funds. If you do not report in the Census, you are shortchanging your community and your household from receiving a fair and adequate share of these benefits.”
Rev. Chris Spencer, with the Black Belt Community Foundation, says, “We must work to get every resident counted in the Census to assure that we get the benefits we need from Federal and state programs. Every church, housing development, and community organization needs to check its membership and help make sure that we get one hundred percent completion of the Census. 40% is a good start but we need to finish the job, we need everyone’s help.”
Carrie Fulghum, Manager of the Eutaw Elderly Village, a thirty unit elderly housing development in the city, with the help of Miriam Leftwitch, a board member, went door to door and helped every resident to complete the Census. “We gave each person, who completed the Census, a ticket in a raffle, and awarded a prize basket of supplies and snacks to the winner. This was a small incentive to help ensure that everyone in our housing community completed the Census. We challenge every other housing development in our city and county to do the same.”
Kinya Isaac, who is the Census Coordinator for Greene County, said, “When you talk with your friends and neighbors ask them if they have completed the Census and ask if you can assist them if they need help to call or get online.”
Marilyn Stephens, completed her interview by saying,” I want people to know that the Census is safe. By law, you are protected from any of your personal information being released or used against you. We do not publish any information on individuals just aggregated data for an area”

FOGCE Federal Credit Union holds Annual Meeting

Members of FOGCE Federal Credit Union at Annual Meeting.

The Federation of Greene County Employees (FOGCE) Federal Credit Union held its Annual Meeting and Christmas Celebration on Wednesday, December 19, 2018 at the credit union’s offices in downtown Eutaw.
The meeting was well attended by more than 35 members who came to learn the status and future plans for the credit union.
Joyce Pham, Treasurer, gave a financial report indicating that as of December 31, 2017, the FOGCE had $503,782.56 in loans outstanding to the membership with assets of $1,343,153.16. There are 891 members and net income for 2017 was $13,819.19.
Mary Dunn, Chairperson of the Credit Committee reported that the FOGCE had made 333 loans in 2018, for a total of $421,537.69, which included ten automobile loans with a value of $153,839.
Rodney Pham indicated that the Credit Committee had increased the maximum loan for an automobile from $40,000 to $60,000. Loans are based on the car’s value, repayment ability and credit rating of the borrower.
Dr. Carol P. Zippert, President reported on the credit union. “ We started in 1975, 43 years ago, with around $25,000 in savings and we have grown to have $1.3 million in assets today. After years of operating in renter spaces, we now own our own building on the Courthouse Square in Eutaw.”
Zippert continued, “ We recently received a $10,000 grant from Inclusiv (formerly the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions) for technology upgrades, accounting and compliance, financial education and counseling for members and marketing and communications expenses to improve contact with our members. We plan to use these grant funds to grow and improve our credit union. We would like to have 1,000 members and over $1.5 million in assets by the end of 2019.”
Joyce Pham indicated that any person who lives, works or worships in Greene County is eligible to join the credit union. It takes $35.00 to join, with $10 for administrative fees to set-up the account and $25.00 as the initial share deposit. All savings are insured by the National Credit Union Administration up to a value of $250,000 per account.
Pham said the credit union is now getting payroll deduction of savings and loan payments from more than thirty employers and businesses in Greene County and surrounding communities including Aliceville, Demopolis, Tuscaloosa and others.
In the business meeting, the members re-elected three board members including Darlene Robinson, Rodney Pham and Mollie Rowe. Also re-elected to the Credit Committee were: Mary Dunn, Rodney Pham and Vonda Richardson. .
Several visitors from the Federation of Southern Cooperatives made congratulatory remarks to the members. These included: Carrie Fulghum, Alabama Board member with the Federation, Dr. Marcus Bernard, Director of the Rural Training and Research Center in Epes, Alabama, and John Zippert, long time Federation staff member.