Anna Mayor Nate Pike and Celina Mayor Sean Terry recently agreed to a friendly wager over which city will end up with a higher census participation rate.
The winner will have bragging rights for the next 10 years while the loser will have to complete an as yet-to-be determined task.
Terry has suggested the loser buy lunch at a restaurant of the winner’s choice.
Pike thinks the stakes should be higher and has pushed for having the loser also wear clothes with the winning city’s logo at a future city council meeting.
Negotiations between the two are apparently ongoing.
“We thought this would be a really good way to have a little competition between the communities,” Pike said.
Federal funding for many city projects is tied directly to population numbers calculated in the national census.
The census also determines where district lines are drawn and the number of representatives each area has. That’s why local leaders push for residents to complete their census forms.
For growing communities like Anna, Celina and other northern Collin County cities, this census is particularly important in light of the region’s recent growth and future projections.
Terry came up with the idea for a wager idea after seeing that Celina was falling behind Anna’s participation rate. He thought it would be a good way to both raise awareness of the census and promote local businesses in the process.
“Nate and I are pretty good friends,” Terry said. “I called him up and said, `Let’s try to find a way to make this fun. What if you and me just have a bet?’”
Pike gladly accepted.
He said that he has a good relationship with Terry. Although their cities may be rivals on some level, the mayors work on many of the same issues facing the area.
“I think he’s doing some great things in Celina,” Pike said. “He’s just a really good person and does a great job of working collectively, trying to make sure we grow our communities in the right way.”
For those who have not filled out their census forms, the process is easier than ever before.
The first step is to visit the website 2020census.gov, then select the “Start Questionnaire” link.
All Anna residents should have received a letter in March with an assigned code. Those who did not receive one, or who can’t locate the code, can select a link to acquire a code before proceeding.
The census features 12 questions, none of which request information about citizenship, political affiliation, religious beliefs, social security numbers or banking details.
A sample census form can also be found on the census website.
Both mayors plan to continue spreading the word about the census on social media. Residents can also expect updates on the participation rates and maybe even a little trash talking.
“For these two towns that are rapidly growing, the fact that this census is only done every 10 years makes it just critical from a participation standpoint,” Pike said.