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Census forms to be on Moffat County doorknobs Monday

U.S Census Bureau employees will be hitting the pavement Monday to deliver census forms for the once-a-decade questionnaire.

Employees are being trained with the bureau to learn the process by which they will deliver the forms.

Employee candidates underwent a pre-test screening of 28 questions ranging from map reading to mathematics and basic language before being hired.

For the 2010 census, employees will be fingerprinted in addition to undergoing an FBI background check.

Moffat County is one of the few counties nationwide that will have census forms hand delivered because of the rural nature of the area, census spokeswoman Deborah Cameron said.

Approximately 95 percent of the rest of country is receiving census forms by mail.

Employees started training Feb. 22 at the Center of Craig and the Moffat County Pavilion to learn the census's confidentiality policies, how to interact with residents and job safety, said Wendell Hennessey, assistant manager for Census Field Operations in the Grand Junction office.

The census is in the first phase of its operations, which is called "update-leave."

Employees will be going door to door verifying and updating residents' addresses. They will then drop off the form either to the resident or leave it on the doorknob.

Residents also will receive a letter explaining the confidentiality policies of the census and how the gathered information will be used.

The deliveries will be spread out throughout March.

The decision to not mail the forms also stems from the census's policy to not mail forms to post office boxes.

Approximately 1,000 census workers will be covering the Western Slope, about 50 of which will be spread throughout Moffat County.

All residents should have census forms by National Census Day on April 1.

The 2010 census is being pegged as "one of the shortest questionnaires in history," said Jennifer Riley, co-chairwoman of the Craig-Moffat County Complete Count Committee.

Census employees will not be asking residents any personal questions such as Social Security numbers, Hennessey said.

Census employees will be conducting personal interviews for residents who do not return their forms in early April, Hennessey said.

All census employees wear an identification badge and must show it to residents before consulting them about their census information.

The U.S. Constitution requires the census be administered every 10 years.

Information gathered will be used to determine the amount of funding communities will receive for public services such as hospitals, schools, public works and emergency services. It also will determine how many seats states will receive in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The Craig-Moffat County Complete Count Committee will be available to answer residents' questions regarding the census, as well. It will have a station set up at the Social Services building located at 595 Breeze Street starting in mid-March, Riley said.

Positions still are available to work for the census and start at $12.50 an hour.

The Moffat County Library will host hiring sessions at 1 p.m. Saturdays and 5 p.m. Tuesdays.

The Workforce Center of Craig also will have hiring sessions at 1:30 p.m. Mondays and Tuesdays.