BALDWIN -- Lake County Clerk/Register of Deeds Patti Pacola knows how important it is to county government to get an accurate count for the U.S. Census. For that reason, she has launched the Lake County census committee.

"I decided to form this committee because federal funds and grants, and support to states, counties and communities are based on population totals," she said. "It is important that the census count include everyone living in the county."

The committee currently consists of eight members that include, along with Pacola, county commissioner Betty Dermyer, Elk Township supervisor Lou Fitz, Pathfinder librarian Bonnie Povilaitis, Luther Area Public Library librarian Heather Morchi and census partner specialist Kris Steinberg, along with other residents of the community.

Steinberg said her role is to meet with representatives from the different municipalities, schools, churches and community organizations to explain how the census works and determine what each of them can do to help get a complete and accurate count.

"I will act as a liaison between these organizations and the Census Bureau," Steinberg said. "I will keep them informed, answer their questions and attend their events."

The goal of the census committee is to educate the public on the importance of the census count to the county as a whole, as well as to the individual townships and communities, Pacola said. They hope to encourage every resident to participate in the census in order to achieve an accurate population count for the county.

"Anyone can be involved, and we encourage everyone to become involved and knowledgeable," she said.

The committee will work to disseminate information about the census throughout the county in a variety of ways.

"Some of the ideas we have talked about include, placing informational flyers on take out boxes at local restaurants, posting information on the social media sites, sharing information at local township meetings, and sending information home with students," Pacola said.

In addition, they plan to have computer stations available at local libraries and at the clerk's office, with personnel to help residents complete the census online.

The U.S. Constitution mandates that a census be taken every 10 years to count all the people -- both citizens and non-citizens -- living in the United States. The data is used to allocate state and federal funding to the various local governmental entities.

"Funding for local communities is based on population totals," Pacola said. "The census count will impact funding for roads, schools and public safety, as well as other things."

In addition, she said, the data collected helps businesses decide where to build factories, stores, motels and other entities.

Anyone interested in becoming involved with the committee, or with the census, may contact Pacola at (231) 745-2725 or ppacola@co.lake.mi.us, or come by the Lake County clerk's offices, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.