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Robert Byrd Launches US Census Efforts

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Riverside Auditor Controller Robert Byrd encouraged United States Census workers and elected officials to help count all of Riverside County’s residents during the county’s census kickoff at the Doral Desert Princess Resort in Cathedral City.

During the last census, in 2000, Riverside County and the Coachella Valley had some of the lowest responses in the state, said Martha A. Rivas, a U.S. Census partnership specialist for the Coachella Valley.

Palm Springs’ 49 percent response rate was the lowest in the valley. Byrd said it’s important to obtain as accurate and complete population counts as possible to help determine how the government will distribute money to the county.

The valley received less financial aid 10 years ago than it could have obtained because of the low response.

The Census also determines the number of congress members, state assembly members and state senators California and the county will receive.

Obtaining a correct count in this area has specific challenges, said Rivas. These include accessing gated communities and reaching seasonal residents, such as snowbirds and migrant workers.

Byrd heard about the issues firsthand as his son served as an enumerator during the address canvassing for Census 2010.

“My son shared with me the challenges that census workers face from locked gates to dogs to suspicious residents wary of strangers,” said Byrd.

“He also told me once people understood he worked for the U.S. Census they were usually happy to help him.”

Census questionnaires will be sent out in March 2010 and must be completed by April 1, 2010.

Coachella Mayor Eduardo Garcia attended Thursday’s kickoff on behalf of Assemblyman Manuel Perez, D-Coachella.

“In terms of the census … (Perez) believes that it is critically important that we use innovation and creativity to get into every corner of the valley,” Garcia said.

In 2002, Robert Byrd became the county’s elected Auditor-Controller with more votes cast than in the entire history of the office. He was subsequently re-elected to a second four-year term in June of 2006.

The function of the Auditor-Controller’s office is to verify, process and create more than 1,000 warrants to vendors each day and process and draft more than 40,000 paychecks for county employees each month. It oversees the disbursement of more than $3 billion in tax money each year, and reports and audits all of Riverside County’s expenses. Byrd has been chair of the Riverside County Employee Campaign and the Legislative Chair for the State Association of County Auditors. Additionally, Byrd is a commissioner on the California Uniform Construction Cost Accounting Commission, and a member of the California Society of Municipal Finance Officers, the Government Finance Officer’s Association and the State Association of County Auditors.

Committed to his community, he’s a member of Riverside Rotary, board member of the Next of Kin Registry, is on the International Relations Council for Riverside and performs as Finance Chairperson for La Sierra Academy’s Board of Trustees.

For details on the Riverside County Auditor-Controller’s office call (951) 955-3800.

Robert E. Byrd, CGFM, who is elected by the voters of Riverside County, heads the Office of the Auditor-Controller. The Auditor-Controller staff and management teams are dedicated to providing sound financial accounting, auditing and reporting in order to serve the citizens of Riverside County.

More information is available on the Web at http://www.auditorcontroller.org

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