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NORMAL - The town officially now has more than 50,000 residents for the first time in its history.

The town has grown by nearly 5,100 people since the 2000 Census, a boost that will bring about $565,000 more to town coffers each year.

Results from a special census conducted this fall and released Wednesday take the town's population to 50,485. The 2000 Census reported 45,386 people living in Normal.

"Obviously we're very pleased with the results," said City Manager Mark Peterson. "The population total exceeds what we projected."

Originally, town officials estimated a 3,000 to 4,000 increase beyond the 2000 Census.

Sweetening the deal, the amount the town receives from population-based state revenue sources has increased since the town decided to request a special census, said administrative analyst Geoff Fruin.

Normal received about $90 per person from three population-based state revenue sources in 2004. The state's economy has rebounded, however, so Fruin said that amount is now up to $111 per person. The extra 5,099 people recorded in the special census will bring Normal an additional $565,989 each year.

Fruin expects the extra money will start in January.

"The additional money will help the City Council continue to keep the property tax rate as low as possible," said finance director Ron Hill.

Like all municipalities, the town has seen increased costs, especially in capital projects such as road improvements, Hill said.

"A growing community also requires additional staff to continue to meet the needs of the residents," Hill said.

Peterson said the purpose of the special census was to take advantage of revenue available to town.

"It's clearly proven to be a benefit," he said.

Normal paid $123,445 for the special census that targeted subdivisions that hadn't been built when the 2000 Census was conducted. Census takers knocked on doors at College Station, Heartland Ridge, Parkwest, Wintergreen, Pheasant Ridge, Collie Ridge, Pinehurst, Pines, Beechwood Commons, Linden Place, Savannah Green, North Fields, Heather Ridge, North Bridge, Oaks on Hovey, The Fields II, Eagles Landing and the Enclaves at Eagle's Landing from mid-August to mid-September.

The town was required to pay census-takers salaries and provide an office for workers.

Bloomington also is planning a special census. It is expected to begin in February. Officials believe the city's population may have increased by about 7,800 people since the 2000 Census. Such an increase would generate another $700,000 a year for Bloomington.

Normal's population growth through the years

Year Population Percent of Growth

1920 5,143 27.81

1930 6,768 31.60

1940 6,983 3.18

1950 9,772 39.94

1960 13,357 36.69

1970 26,396 97.62

1980 35,672 35.14

1990 40,023 12.20

1997* 42,219 5.49

2000 45,386 7.50

2005* 50,485 11.23

*Special Censuses

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