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County updates census and E911 addresses

Hubbard County completed the 2020 Census Local Update of Census Addresses (LUCA) project and submitted updates to the U.S. Census Bureau.

LUCA is a voluntary, once-a-decade procedure and ensures an accurate count for each participating jurisdiction. It is the only opportunity offered to tribal, state, and local governments to review and update the U.S. Census Bureau's residential address list prior to the 2020 Census.

A total of 10,252 addresses were reviewed, according to County Environmental Services Director Eric Buitenwerf, with an estimated 100 hours of staff time spent on the project over the course of nine to 10 weeks.

Buitenwerf shared his findings with the Hubbard County Board last week.

According to his breakdown, 707 new residential addresses were added; 787 were deleted; 1,768 were changed and 6,990 had no changes.

"Did you feel that it was worth the 100 hours to get all this updated?" asked Commissioner Char Christenson.

"It's really hard to say as to what it will actually result in, in terms of more people being accurately contacted to participate in the census, and then it all depends on what the participation rate is," Buitenwerf replied. "Not knowing what that is, I don't know if what we did will result in anything significant. The data is certainly more accurate."

Buitenwerf said staff didn't review every address it had, "but we hit the low-hanging fruit." Blocks with the greatest numbers of addresses were given priority attention, he said.

Census data is used to apportion representation among states; draw congressional and state legislative districts, school districts and voting precincts; and distribute federal dollars, among other things.

E911 addresses

The LUCA project "identified some situations where properties were found to have incorrect E911 addresses," Buitenwerf continued.

"We've got two instances where we'd need to notify landowners a change of address is required to maintain the integrity of the E911 system," he said.

In one instance, the landowner reconfigured a driveway to a different road. Buitenwerf asked the board if the county should charge the typical $50 address fee.

Normally, there are about a dozen address changes each year, he said. "The LUCA project obviously brought more to light and prompted the question: How do we want to handle this?"

The other scenario is beyond the landowner's control — for example, a threshold of three addresses along an unnamed road triggers a county process that then names the road. There is a $175 road sign fee. Buitenwerf asked what fees, if any, should be charged to landowners in that instance.

The board agreed to charge $50 if the address change is triggered by landowner-initiated actions. The county will absorb the fees if external factors or county actions cause a road name change.