JAMESTOWN, N.D. (NewsDakota.com) – Jamestown and Valley City are challenging each other to be the most counted during the 2020 U.S. Census.

Valley City Mayor Dave Carlsrud has challenged Jamestown Mayor Dwaine Heinrich to a response rate competition. The competition will pit Jamestown against Valley City to see who can get more residents to respond and get counted for the 2020 U.S. Census.

“After the census response period ends on July 31, we will compare the cities’ “self-response rates” — that is, the percentage of residents in each city who voluntarily self-responded to the census, as tabulated by the U.S. Census Bureau,” said Mayor Carlsrud.

The city with the higher self-response rate/percentage will be declared the winner. The “losing” city’s mayor will have to wear a baseball cap promoting the “winning” city (e.g., “I Love Valley City”) at the next televised city meeting. This is a friendly competition that is aimed at raising awareness and participation in both communities.

Counting everyone across the state is vitally important. According to Kevin Iverson, manager of the Census Office at the North Dakota Department of Commerce, “Every person we fail to count will cost the state of North Dakota more than $19,000 over the next 10 years. That is money we need for roads, emergency services, healthcare services, school programs, etc.”

The challenge event was created by the Jamestown Complete Count Committee (CCC), a volunteer committee established by local governments and community leaders to increase awareness about the 2020 U.S. Census and encourage local residents to respond.

“Each CCC is charged with developing and implementing an outreach plan designed to target and address the needs of its community,” Heinrich said. “This process involves identifying populations within the communities that are traditionally undercounted and working with the ‘trusted faces’ of those groups to increase self-response rates.”

A kickoff event has been scheduled for January 14, 2020, at 2 p.m. in the Jamestown City Council Chambers.