Census shows growth in Savoy

SAVOY – Preliminary figures from a special census indicate that Savoy has passed Mahomet to become the fourth-largest municipality in Champaign County.

U.S. Census workers left Savoy on Wednesday after a 3-week count of the community.

The regular 2000 Census showed that Savoy had 4,476 people. The new figure shows a jump to more than 6,200.

But the Savoy Village Board believed a large number of people had moved into the village since that time, and spent $40,000 out of its general fund to commission a special census.

Village Manager Dick Helton said the census concentrated primarily on the Sterling, Parkview and Prairie Fields areas.

"We think those locations are the areas where we have seen the most growth since 2000," Helton said.

A team of Boy Scouts hung cards with information on the doors of homes in early September to let residents know the census takers would be stopping by.

The Census Bureau set up a temporary office in the Savoy Village Hall on Sept. 22 and hired nine area residents to work as census enumerators.

The enumerators collected information about the name, sex, race, age and marital status of each member of each household, according to Census Bureau spokesman Mike Stump.

Preliminary figures indicated that the census takers found 1,773 additional residents, Helton said.

If those numbers don't change when the final results are released within the next two months, Savoy's official population will jump to 6,249; bypassing Mahomet's official population of 4,877.

Helton said increasing Savoy's official population is important because the state reimburses funds from income tax and motor fuel tax on a per-capita basis.

Helton estimated that Savoy gets $105 per person per year from the state, meaning Savoy should receive an additional $186,165 a year from higher population.

"Thanks to this additional revenue, we'll get back the $40,000 we invested in the special census within the first few months," Helton said.

As Savoy continues to grow in population, Helton said he wouldn't be surprised if the village pursues yet another special census later this decade.

"We told the census people as they left to expect to see us again in a few years," Helton said.

You can reach Tim Mitchell at (217) 351-5366 or via e-mail at tmitchel@news-gazette.com.

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