Hays County has gone a long ways toward populating its Complete Count Committee but still needs representatives from some segments of the community.
The county announced and began staffing the committee last fall and has also dedicated $50,000 towards the 2020 Census. Areas of the county have been deemed difficult to count, and during the 2019 meeting of the Texas Legislatures, the GOP-controlled House and Senate declined to provide any funding.
Some nonprofit agencies, notably the United Way, have stepped in to provide additional funds to make a success of the Census, which determines how federal funds are allocated to local communities and causes.
Co-chairs of the Hays County Complete Count Committee’s Executive Board are County Judge Ruben Becerra and Pct. 1 Commissioner Debbie Gonzales Ingalsbe. Also on the executive board are Shavon Caldwell, representing San Marcos, Will Atkinson, representing Kyle, J.R. Gonzales representing Buda, Gloria Martinez representing Texas State University, Tim Savoy representing Hays CISD, Mike Cardona representing San Marcos CISD, Dottie Busby of Wimberley ISD, Cheryl Brown of Dripping Springs ISD, Jason Guilietti representing Greater San Marcos Partnership, Juan Zea representing Community Cares, Bobbie Garza-Hernandez representing the Democratic Party and Mike Jones representing the Republican Party.
Other members are Bonny Krahn, representing Woodcreek North, Mayor Larry Odom representing Hays City and Marissa Fehler representing the city of Wimberley.
Within the committee are subgroups. Nonprofit task forces are represented by Alyssa Garza of Mano Amigo and Maria Rocha of the Indigenous Cultures Institute, while the business and political task force is comprised of Caitlyn Strickland of Hays County, Laureen Chernow of Hays County communications, Marilyn Minnaar of the League of Women Voters and Efren Chavez and Lindsay McClune of Hays County Grants. Miguel Arredondo of the San Marcos CISD is in charge of the educational task force, which is comprised of school districts, early childhood education and home-schooling organizations. The faith based task force is represented by Margie Crosby of Promiseland Church, and the service organization task force is represented by Beth Corbett of Central Texas Food Bank.
Complete Count Committee members from neighboring counties are Irma Palacios from Guadalupe County, Julia Cleary of Bastrop County and Dennis Engelke of Caldwell County.
Still to be named are representatives of Mountain City, the city of Dripping Springs, the Village of Bear Creek and Comal County.
The county was turned down for a grant from the Hogg Foundation to offset census costs, but the United Way of Greater Austin put forth $8,000 to the committee. The county will also get a share of a $59,000 grant administered by Travis County that will share with Hays, Caldwell, Bastrop and Williamson counties. The United Way of Greater Austin also gave $10,000 to Mano Amiga, which is also working with the city of San Marcos’ Complete Count effort.