Census kicks off this week
The 1980 Census revealed that Douglas County nearly tripled in population over the previous decade.
The number of people calling the county home increased from 6,882 in 1970 to 19,421 in 1980, representing the first big boom in population.
Over the next two decades the population more than doubled to 41,259, a more than twelvefold increase over 40 years since the 1960 population of 3,481.
The 2020 Census starts its work this week, and the question isn’t whether the population has grown, but by how much?
Last week, the Douglas County Clerk-Treasurer’s Office reported that the number of registered voters in the county had hit 40,921, within reach of the total population in 2000.
Today, the Douglas County Public Library’s Minden Branch hosts a 3:30 p.m. Census launch event where representatives will be on hand.
Computers will be available to complete the Census online and there will be activities for both children and adults.
Invitations to participate in the Census are expected to arrive between today and March 20.
Around half a million Census takers are being hired across the country to aid in the count. Those folks will go door-to-door across the country to count people in households who have not responded online, by phone or mail.
Concerns about the county’s population drove the development of the master plan and the county’s growth ordinance.
On Tuesday, county and planning commissioners met to review progress on the plan.
The county has a 2 percent growth cap, but due to the Great Recession, has never issued the full allotment of building permits.
Concerns about water and open space were expressed by commissioners on Tuesday, with Planning Commissioner Dave Akola and Commission Chairman Barry Penzel agreeing that a hydrologic study to determine how much water is in Carson Valley’s aquifer is critical to future planning.
Penzel said the county met with the U.S. Geological Survey about doing a study and once the cost is known would decide whether to include that in the budget for next year.
Open space concerns could drive placing a quarter-cent sales tax on the November ballot.
Douglas-Carson Farm Bureau President Woody Worthington sent a letter to commissioners saying his organization would welcome a ballot question.
Planning Commissioner Maureen Casey has been working behind the scenes to put together a group to advocate for the ballot question, which would raise money to retire development rights on agricultural land.
The master plan also includes a program that allows agricultural land owners to transfer development rights from their property to places where housing is planned, in order to maintain open space.
County officials said they expect to have the master plan text ready for approval by commissioners in November. Public workshops for the plan are scheduled for May through July with presentation to the Planning Commission by October.