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A critical piece of the Island’s future: Time to register with the Census

The clock is ticking on registering with the U.S. Census and Shelter Island is running late in counting all residents.

Councilman Mike Bebon, who has spearheaded the town’s drive to have all residents register, said Tuesday that only 26.6% of Islanders had signed on to the Census, the lowest percentage of the five East End towns. The state’s percentage of registration is 59%.

Registering with the Census is of critical importance. Federal funding over the next 10 years for the community is based on Census data. Medical care, schools, roads, transportation and more, all receive federal funding based on the data.

At Tuesday’s Town Board work session, Mr. Bebon emphasized that second-homeowners, even if they had registered at their primary residence, must register here, since houses must also also be counted. Second homeowner Sandra O’Connor said she called the Census Bureau “and got right through” for information and to register.

Since the census doesn’t mail forms to Post Office boxes — the only available mail delivery on the Island — Mr. Bebon has advised filing online or over the phone. He has stressed again the importance that Shelter Island’s population be counted, since federal funds, along with state and local representation, depend compleltely on an accurate count of the population.

Online or over-the-phone filing takes about 10 minutes, the councilman said, and only one member of each household is required to submit information. To file online, go to my2020census.gov and for phone submissions call 844-330-2020 for English speakers and 844-468-2020 for Spanish speakers.