The city government is pushing hard to make sure the 2010 Census goes smoothly and accurately, and for good reason.
Generally, it’s pretty obvious that Mayor Douglas H. Palmer wants the continued shrinking of Trenton’s population to slow down and stop, since he has personally presided over the exodus of about 10,000 or more residents since he took office in 1990.
Such a deflating population is a good marker of the social and economic chaos that plagues many of Trenton’s neighborhoods and has become the hallmark of Mayor Palmer’s tenure here. He probably wants that trend to go away.
Additionally, the mayor probably wants to ensure an accurate count because the amount of people living in the city has a direct effect on the amount of power the mayor of Trenton wields.
New Jersey law dictating the makeup of municipal governments uses the 80,000 mark as a divider. Cities with greater than 80,000 have a greater number of department directors, more mayoral aides, and other perks that make being a mayor of an 80,000+ municipality that much better.
And since Mayor Palmer’s other career aspirations as a possible lieutenant governor candidate or in some sort of a federal position seem to have disintegrated, that 2010 Census number has probably taken on greater importance for Trenton’s vertically-challenged mayor. He very well may be running again in May 2010.
Finally, and more importantly to city residents, is that federal and state aid dollars are directly linked to the amount of people living within a town’s borders. For a highly dependent city like Trenton, those aid dollars make up the majority of the dollars funding city schools and municipal services.
A decline in overall population means a decline in aid dollars, which could directly cause another tax increase like those that have occurred repeatedly in Trenton during Mayor Palmer’s time.
Taken altogether, it is accurate to say that a lot is riding on the 2010 census, both for us and for the man leading the city.