Naperville wants special census to find more people, more money

  • Former Naperville City Council member David Wentz says the city should conduct a special census to count people added since 2010 and snag more money from the state.

    Former Naperville City Council member David Wentz says the city should conduct a special census to count people added since 2010 and snag more money from the state.

 
 
Updated 11/19/2015 2:19 PM

A call has begun for a special census to gauge Naperville's growing population -- and potentially get in line for more state money.

Former city council member David Wentz said he thinks the city has welcomed enough new residents since the 2010 census, when its population was set at 141,853, to make it worthwhile to count again.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

This would be the first special census in Naperville since 2008 and would follow other special counts taken in 2003 and four times between 1990 and 2000 during a period of major expansion.

"With some growth recently, I think it's justifiable," Wentz said.

The census bureau itself estimates Naperville's population has risen to 146,128 since the last official count.

More residents means more money from the state, mainly in the form of extra income taxes, City Manager Doug Krieger said.

Some subdivisions on Naperville's southwest side are still filling with residents and the city has approved a few new housing developments in recent years.

Developers are building houses at 75th Street and Naper Boulevard and along Plank Road just west of Naper Boulevard. A subdivision of 303 houses called Atwater has been approved for the former Country Lakes Golf Club site south of Diehl Road and west of Route 59, and a 21-house subdivision called Hidden Creek received approval this week to begin building near 248th and 103rd streets.

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"The question I have is why should we wait?" Wentz said, encouraging council members to begin a special census. "This is state money that's waiting for us to take. It's low-hanging fruit. In all likelihood, other communities will be doing it."

Krieger said next fall would be a better time to start a special census because the amount the state gives for each additional resident could be cut amid its financial concerns.

"If things in Springfield were normal, which they haven't been for a long time, each additional body would have been worth $100," Krieger said. "This year there has been a lot of discussion about reducing that amount."

Conducting the special census could cost between $80,000 and $140,000, depending on how many census tracts the city decides to count. Officials would want to be certain a tract has seen enough new residents -- based on building permits and occupancy certificates -- before counting it.

"Until Springfield passes the current year budget, it's hard to figure out whether the math works," Krieger said.

The 2008 special census resulted in an additional $800,000 a year from the state, while the 2003 count generated an extra $780,000 a year.

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