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MAG Proposes To Reimburse Arizona Cities For Census Costs

downtown phoenix
(Photo by Alexandra Olgin - KJZZ)
Unlike the other cities, Phoenix decided not to have the U.S. Census Bureau do a recount.

Some Valley cities may get partially reimbursed for the mid-decade special census starting next month. Seven decided to invest in the federal count this year, because it could increase their share of state revenue.

The Maricopa Association of Government’s proposal would allow cities to get half of what they spent on the census. The deal would set aside regional dollars for these cities to use for special projects. 

Chandler, Goodyear, Queen Creek, Buckeye, Peoria, Gilbert and Maricopa are each conducting their own census because they are hoping to capitalize on population growth since 2010.  

Mesa and Phoenix officials voted not to do a census this year. Mesa Government Relations Director Scott Butler was involved in the compromise.   

“These cities had already committed millions of dollars, so I think this is a fair compromise, it doesn’t take away a nickel from any other city. But it does help these seven communities to give them more access to these funds to help offset their local costs," Butler said.

Valley cities want to change Arizona law next year so population estimates are updated annually. This is important because state-shared revenues are distributed to cities based on population counts. MAG will vote to finalize the proposal at the end of the month.

Alexandra Olgin was a Senior Field Correspondent at KJZZ from 2013 to 2016.