Attention, snowbirds: Before you fly this spring, Marana wants to count you.

More specifically, the town wants seasonal residents to complete federal Census forms before heading elsewhere.

"Snowbirds are a major concern staff is working to address," said Josh Wright, assistant to the town manager.

Why? Wright said the federal government distributes $300 billion "based on information obtained from the Census." Each resident represents "the equivalent of $3,000.

"We want to make sure we get those people early on, so they don't take the Census someplace else," Wright told the town council last week.

A marketing and outreach plan has been prepared to contact seasonal residents. In the first three months of 2010, Marana plans to make presentations to homeowners associations and community groups. Special attention is being paid to two major active adult communities, Sunflower and Heritage Highlands.

A rural Pima County office for the Bureau of Census is being established at 7620 N. Hartman in Marana. A ribbon cutting is planned for Dec. 10, Wright said.

In 2000, Marana reached a 77 percent participation rate in the Census, second highest in Pima County to Oro Valley. Pima County had a 67 percent rate.

The 2010 Census form has 10 questions, which should take about 10 minutes to complete. "The packets of previous years are gone," Wright said. "It's a very quick document to speed up the process."

Census questionnaires are being mailed to residents March 1. April 1 is "Census Day," with returns encouraged. On April 10, a second questionnaire would be mailed to non-responsive residences. After May 10, a Census worker would show up on the doorstep of those homes.

Population counts are due to the president on Dec. 31. Final data is distributed to the states April 1, 2011. In turn, states then share information with local governments.

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