Durham & Dover City Managers to Wash Newmarket Fire Truck as Census Challenge Concludes

DURHAM -  Town Administrator Todd Selig and Dover City Manager Michael Joyal will be rolling up their sleeves this Friday, June 4th, at 1 p.m., to wash one of the Town of Newmarket’s fire trucks. This comes as a result of the March 2010 Census friendly challenge between the three communities.  The “event” will take place at the Newmarket Fire Station located at 4 Young Lane, Newmarket, N.H.

The challenge, established to kick off the 2010 Census in March of this year, was to see which of the communities could produce the largest mail-in response. 

The goal of the challenge was to encourage the residents of Durham, Dover and Newmarket to become more aware of the importance of mailing in their census forms.  A strong mail-in response ensures a more accurate count as well as lowering the overall cost of the census by reducing the number of census workers needed to go door-to-door to collect the information. 

According to Strafford Regional Planning Commission Executive Director  Cynthia Copeland, “You’re creating a legacy because for every person who fills out the Census (form), eleven hundred and fifty dollars ($1,150), on average, comes in every year to the state of New Hampshire and to our communities.  You’re creating a legacy for the University of New Hampshire and the communities in which you reside.”

At the launching of the challenge, Selig said, “It’s in both our fiscal and social interests as communities and as a nation to ensure a strong Census response from our residents”.

Newmarket won the contest with a 71-percent return while Dover (69%) and Durham (68%) finished second and third respectively.

So, with buckets and sponges in hand, Dover and Durham’s municipal leaders will be going to the Newmarket Fire Station on Friday to scrub and wash one of the town’s fire trucks. 

Town Administrator Todd Selig commented on the outcome saying, “The effort was a tremendous success in bringing communities together for a positive social outcome at no additional cost to local taxpayers.  Hats off to both Newmarket and Dover.”

About $85 million is saved for every one percent increase in mail participation.  Additionally, the Census Bureau saves $60-$70 per census form returned by mail.