By Joe Boyle
Worth Mayor Mary Werner said that the deadline for the U.S. Census has changed but the importance of registering still remains vital.
"The census organizers had indicated they would be done by Oct. 31," Werner said during the Worth Village Board meeting on Aug. 4. "But they have now said that will not be enough time to count them all by the end of the year. Now they are indicating that they need it done by the end of September. During the next 30 days they will go door-to-door to get people to sign up."
The Worth mayor said they will help to get the word out regarding the deadline change for the census count. Werner and some local officials believed with the current COVID-19 pandemic that has prevented census officials from contacting people in person that this should allow for more time. But the mayor added that whether this makes the process more challenging or not, it has to be done.
"Signing up for the census is important," Werner pointed out. "For the next 10 years this will decide our legislative representation. This will also determine how much money will go back to the state and for Worth. To not do so will cost the state and the village money."
The Census Bureau has the difficult task of reaching four out of 10 households in the country that have not responded online or by mail. During a normal census, workers would have the opportunity to canvas neighborhoods and conduct door-to-door interviews, which has not been done up to now due to the pandemic.
The Census Bureau confirmed on Aug. 3 that it was changing the timeline to collect data from the end of October to Sept. 30. More census workers will be trained and incentives will be offered to work more hours, according to the Bureau. But in one published report, Sarah Bannon, managing director of the ACLU's Voting Rights Project, said she doubts the Census Bureau will be able to reach most people by the new timeline.
But Werner reminded the board and the few people who attended the meeting that not filling out the census data will have dire consequences for the state. It could result in fewer legislators and less cash for Illinois, which is taking a huge financial hit due to COVID-19.
The board also said goodbye to two police officers. Louise Nugent retired after 20 years of service to the village.
"Thank you for your service," said Trustee Pete Kats, who is the head of the public safety committee. "She will be sorely missed."
Officer Gerald Igoe also recently resigned. Kats said he is taking on new responsibilities in another field and he wishes Igoe well.
The police department now has two less members and Kats said filling those positions will have to be explored entering the new year.
A business license has been tentatively granted to Affordable Restoration Group Inc., 10829 S. 76th Ave. Owner David Wierzba attended the meeting. Wierzba said that he will be applying for a sign permit.
The No. 1 Tobacco & Vape, 7024 W. 111th St., also received tentative approval. Owner Mohammad Oudah was also present at the meeting. Trustee Tedd Muersch Jr., who is the head of the business license committee, reminded Oudah that he will be in the midst of several similar businesses. Oudah shook his head and said he is aware of that.
However, a license request for Up In Smoke, 11101 S. Harlem Ave., has been put on hold. Several permits are still pending and additional modifications are necessary, according to Muersch. Trustee Rich Dziedzic was also concerned that the owners were not present at the meeting. The owners sent a representative.
"With all due respect, I think in this case I think we need the owners to be present at the meeting to discuss this," Dziedzic told the representative.
Trustee Laura Packwood, who is the head of the golf committee, said that sales for food and beverages at the Water's Edge Golf Club clubhouse have been slow, a by product of the pandemic.
"Obviously, people still don't feel comfortable coming in to eat and drink," Packwood said. "But golf is doing really well. The range is up to $2,000 from last year."
Packwood said the revenue for the Water's Edge Golf Club is $45,00 for the last three months.
"We are getting a lot of new golfers from other areas," Packwood said. "A lot of them are going all around to many courses. I guess they are doing it because there is nothing else to do."