South Pittsburg eyes census recount

South Pittsburg eyes census recount

February 19th, 2012 by Ryan Lewis/Correspondent in News

Former South Pittsburg Mayor Mike Killian

Former South Pittsburg Mayor Mike Killian

Photo by Ben Benton /Times Free Press.

SOUTH PITTSBURG, Tenn. -- Last year's news from the U.S. Census Bureau that South Pittsburg's population fell by more than 300 has city officials considering a voluntary recount.

According to the census, the town's population dropped from 3,295 in 2000 to 2,992 in 2010.

Mayor Mike Killian said he recently reviewed the state's census maps for redrawing the four City Commission districts and "it doesn't look like there will be major changes."

However, officials said they believe the census numbers are incorrect, and that will cost the town valuable funding.

"We need to review those census numbers," Killian said. "If we have to, we need to get a volunteer brigade going, and we may need to recount this town. In my mind, I felt like they undercounted us by 200 to 300 people. When you're undercounted by nearly 10 percent, it can affect your funding."

City Administrator Bently Thomas said the town gets $104 "per person, per year" in federal and state funding.

If the count is off by 300 residents, for example, the town would lose $31,200, officials said.

Killian said he knows of at least one error: The census didn't list any residents on the block across the street from city hall.

"I know at least six people that are living there, and I can name them," he said. "So if there's a difference between six and zero in one block, we could have some variances."

Officials said the town could ask volunteers to count residents block by block.

"It might not be such a major thing, but I think we owe it to our people, to ourselves, and to this government to maybe make a recount," Killian said.

Ryan Lewis is based in Marion County. Contact him at