By Hayley Kappes

Killeen Daily Herald

BELTON – The U.S. Census Bureau is enlisting the community's help in collecting necessary information for 2010's U.S. Census.

Robert Aguilar, partnership specialist with the Dallas Regional Census Center, said Monday in a report to the Bell County Commissioners Court that the bureau is looking for more community involvement in encouraging residents to submit their forms.

Regional census bureaus are encouraging partnerships with communities that would form Complete Count Committees composed of community leaders appointed by the highest elected official of the jurisdiction.

Each committee's duty is to influence every member of a jurisdiction to complete the census questionnaire timely and accurately. They will also be responsible for promoting the Census Awareness Campaign through October 2010.

The commissioners court agreed to partner with the Census Bureau in forming a Complete Count Committee for Bell County that would encompass the entire Fort Hood, Killeen and Temple areas.

Aguilar said the form is short, with only 10 questions, but people provide a myriad of excuses for not completing it. He said the main groups who do not turn in their census form include elderly, low-income, minorities, immigrants and those who live in rural areas.

Accurate census data determine where hospitals, schools and other social services are planned and located throughout a community.

"Illegal immigrants are afraid INS will use the information to track them down and have them deported," Aguilar said. "Only the U.S. Census Bureau sees this information. It's illegal for us to share it with anyone else, including other federal agencies."

Contact Hayley Kappes at or (254) 501-7559.

Bell County Commissioners Court's actions at Monday's meeting:

Bryan Neaves began his first day as Bell County's new engineer. He previously worked for the Texas Department of Transportation, City of Temple and a private consulting firm.

No action was taken on the outdoor burn ban, set to expire next Monday. County residents were able to burn brush Thursday morning through Sunday evening, as the ban was temporarily lifted due to heavy rainfall last week.

County Treasurer Charles Jones gave a report on 2008 interest and investments collected by their office from 2008's fiscal year. Jones said interest rates have dropped since 2007. Rates dropped below 1 percent at their lowest.

Bell County HELP Centers submitted City Development Block Grant applications to the cities of Killeen and Temple.

The court appointed Commissioner Eddy Lange to the Executive Board of the Central Texas Council of Governments.

The court approved Commissioner Tim Brown as the alternate for Judge Jon Burrows on the Brazos Region G Water Planning Group.

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