The city of Cullman wants you to fill out your census form and they are willing to offer you a reward for doing so. Mayor Woody Jacobs announced at the council meeting Monday that the city is doing daily drawings for gift cards to local retailers and restaurants for households that fill out their census form.

“We’ve been talking about the census quite a bit and trying to come up with a way during this weird time where everybody’s at home to encourage people to fill out the census,” said Jacobs. “It’s vital to the city of Cullman, the other towns, Cullman County and the state of Alabama.”

The census count, which takes place every 10 years, is used to determine the number of U.S. Congressmen each state has, federal funding and grants, local split of sales taxes and to determine how much funding each school gets from the state and federal governments.

To enter the City of Cullman Census Challenge people have to go online to complete the census, copy their census confirmation code or upload the census confirmation page to the entry form on the city’s website. Only city of Cullman residents are eligible to participate; however, Jacobs said he hopes other municipalities and the county start their own contests.

Drawings will be held every day. “They’re going to be able to win some really neat gift cards and prizes,” said Jacobs. “They’re from our city of Cullman retail folks and city of Cullman restaurants. A lot of these folks have suffered during this time so it kind of serves as a dual purpose, to help our citizens and to help our businesses.”

Jacobs announced the first winner at the council meeting Monday, awarding Jennifer Brown a $50 gift card to Ashley Mercantile. “We have lots of cards already bought and we’re going to buy more,” he said.

“It’s a great idea with so many people at home right now,” said Council President Jenny Folsom. “Especially the children whose mothers are homeschooling them now, this could be a good teaching tool to get the children involved with the meaning of the census and helping them fill it out.”

This is the first census that is being conducted primarily on-line. As of April 12, 48.8 percent of Cullman residents have completed the census form. This is slightly above the national response rate of 48.1 percent and the state’s 47.4 percent response rate. Cullman County's overall response rate has been 46.9 percent.

Jacobs said those who have already completed the form can still enter the city’s challenge. If they don’t have their confirmation page, they can fill out the census form again and get a new confirmation number. Jacobs said the Census Bureau will delete duplicate entries.

Amy Henderson can be reached at 256-734-2131 Ext. 116.

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