By Ray King

With the 2020 census count delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Pine Bluff Mayor Shirley Washington said Tuesday city officials will use the extra time to reach out to those who have not completed the form.

Appearing on the Oldies 101.3 morning show, Washington said an accurate count is important because funding for a lot of the city’s resources like public safety, schools, hospitals and libraries depend on the accuracy of the count.

She was also asked how the process is going so far?

“We will continue with our census roundups and our ads and pushing churches and other organizations to encourage their members to make sure they complete the census,” Washington said.

On another subject, the Mayor was asked if the city had taken any action or cut any services because of the loss of revenue stemming from businesses being ordered closed.

She said the city will pay the employee for 32 hours and the remaining eight hours will be paid by unemployment insurance. Those workers will also be able to claim the $600 weekly payment through the federal C.A.R.E.S. Act. The move is expected to save the city $750,000.

Washington also was asked if the city was looking at programs to aid businesses that have now reopened.