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Douglasville, GA - More than three dozen people including staff, officials and members of the public from Douglas County, the City of Douglasville, and the City of Villa Rica gathered for a kick-off event on May 14 for the 2020 Census, one of the largest government projects in the country. Douglas County Planning and Zoning Manager Ron Roberts kicked off the event held at the Douglas County Courthouse and presented information about why and how the census is conducted and a little history about why the census was originally started in 1790.

What caught the attention of some in attendance was the level of cooperation between both city leaders and the county leader in attendance. Douglas County Board of Commission Chairman, Dr. Romona Jackson Jones, City of Douglasville Mayor Rochelle Robinson and City of Villa Rica Mayor Jeff Reese attended the afternoon event and took the time to make remarks at the event that was open to the public.

"It's a strategic priority for me to ensure I can get every resident in Douglas County counted and collaborating with Mayor Robinson and Mayor Reese is the only way we all can ensure success at this major undertaking," said Chairman Jones. "Having us all together in one place as leaders of our communities at one time for the first time anyone could remember shows the seriousness of the commitment we all have."

Ron Roberts opened the celebration announcing the meaning of the census. "Every 10 years, the U.S. government counts every person living the country as the nation's founders mandated the decennial census in the Constitution," Roberts said.

Douglas County Geographic Information Systems (GIS) manager, Ed Dean, Community Outreach Coordinator of the City of Douglasville, Aaron Szarowicz, and Douglas County External Affairs director Tiffany Stewart-Stanley all gave presentations. In attendance, the U.S. Census Bureau representative Linda Baptste delivered brief remarks on the advanced preparation of the three local governments.

The kickoff event informed attendees that the census helps to illustrate the issues that are most relevant to Americans at the given time. It helps provide information for the government, businesses, and also for research. It was presented that the census data is important because it informs how around $800 billion are distributed to the states, counties, and cities. It helps in deciding how funding for things such as healthcare, transportation, infrastructure, schools, and apportionment are spent. In the state of Georgia, the census will help determine how a total of $13.7 billion will be allocated.

"I view this campaign, and the 2020 Census in general, not only as a tool to help improve the various physical aspects of our community, but to continue to strengthen the bonds within it and further demonstrate our commitment to collaboration, innovation, progression, and prosperity in Douglas County, the City of Douglasville, and the City of Villa Rica," said Mayor Rochelle Robinson, City of Douglasville.

"Working together as a team means better service delivery to our communities and bodes well for the future of our region," said Mayor of Villa Rica Jeff Reese. "When we work together, we can overcome great obstacles, achieve goals and serve our constituents more effectively."

"The relationship between Chairman Jones, Mayor Robinson and Mayor Reese is a big part of the success of getting the word out to all of the communities involved," said Rick Martin, Director of Communications and Community Relations for Douglas County. "Without collaboration and cooperation true success is unattainable. "

For more information, you can contact Rick Martin, Director of Douglas County Communications and Community Relations Department, 770-920-7303.

Photo: Villa Rica Mayor Jeff Reese, Douglas County Commission Chair, Romona Jackson Jones, Douglasville Mayor Rochelle Robinson

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