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BLOOMINGTON - An official count of how many people live in Bloomington is not scheduled to begin until early next year.

The city is preparing for the U.S. Census Bureau to conduct the special census. A more accurate count means more state and federal money for the city because some funds are distributed on a per capita basis.

At the same time, Normal is waiting for results of a special census taken in that community earlier this fall.

Applications for census workers are still being accepted in Bloomington, said Chris Tomerlin of the city's finance department.

"We will be accepting applications all the way up to when the census bureau begins testing," Tomerlin said. He is waiting to hear when testing will start, but it likely will be just after the first of the new year.

The city is hoping to receive more than 300 applications. From that number, Tomerlin said the bureau will hire about 60 employees who will work for the city.

Tomerlin said the city also is preparing office space for the bureau in the annex to City Hall.

Bloomington officials requested the special count because they believe the city's population may have increased by about 7,800 people since the 2000 Census.

The city's ability to count the additional people in its official headcount means the city could receive another $700,000 a year from the federal and state governments every year for the next five years. The city is paying $133,230 for the special census.

The census workers will concentrate on about 150 subdivisions on the city's growing east side, Tomerlin said. They will not fan out across the city.

"We are looking at those areas where the city has seen the greatest growth," Tomerlin said.

Once the census workers are hired and trained, the count could take about 40 business days.

In Normal, that work is already done, said Geoff Fruin, administrative analyst for the town.

The town wrapped up its special census in September and is now waiting for the results. Fruin said the bureau could take about 90 days to tabulate the results of the count.

"We are hoping to get the results this month yet," Fruin said.

The census work went well in Normal, Fruin said, adding it was a "really smooth experience" because of cooperation from Normal residents.

In the town's estimates are correct, it could start seeing an extra $300,000 or so starting early next year, Fruin said.

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