The first meeting of the Complete the Count Committee brought community leaders from throughout the state together to work on a strategy for the 2010 census.

If the numbers don’t support it, Missouri stands the chance of losing a U-S Congressional seat.

Director of Administration Kelvin Simmons says the coveted spot in Congress isn’t the only thing at stake … Missouri’s census numbers determine federal funding for the next ten years. The federal return of tax dollars equals about a thousand dollars per person per year.

A few changes should streamline the process. For the first time, Census canvassers will have hand-held computers to instantly update the database. Good news to heads of household filling out the forms, there are only ten questions to answer.

Simmons says the Complete the Count Committee is working on ways to reach everyone, even if it’s through Facebook or Twitter. Employees will be walking the streets and working with food banks to make sure the homeless are counted. Whatever it takes to get the message out to all Missourians how important it is they are counted.

The last census saw a 69 percent turnout …. the committee hopes to do better this time.

Each year, more than 300 billion federal dollars is distributed to state and local governments, community organizations and health care providers. The funding includes money for schools, hospitals, roads and disaster relief.

Click here to see a sample of the census form .

Missouri Statewide 2010 complete Count Committee Members:

Jane Brown, Federal Prosecutor, Kansas City

Scott Burnett, Jackson County Legislator, Kansas City

Adolfo Castillo, Consultant, Joplin

Kathy Chinn, Farm Owner/Operator, Clarence

Anna Crosslin, International Institute of St. Louis, St. Louis

Charlie Dooley, St. Louis County Executive, St. Louis

Steve Ehlmann, St. Charles County Executive, St. Charles

Gwen Grant, Urban League of Greater Kansas City, Kansas City

Doug Hermes, Community Development Consultant, Liberty

Matt Hesser, Missouri State Demographer, Jefferson City

Ed Hillhouse, Franklin County Presiding Commissioner, Lake Ozark

Mike McMillan, City of St. Louis License Collector, St. Louis

Robbie Myers, Three Rivers Community College, Poplar Bluff

Claudio Perez-Korinko, International Marketing, Kansas City

John Peterson, Rolla Community Development Director, Rolla

Don Reimal, Mayor of Independence, Independence

Jorge Riopedre, CarisMedia Inc., St. Louis

Anita Russel, NAACP-Kansas City, Kansas City

Brenda Shields, United Way fo Greater St. Joseph, St. Joseph

Kelvin Simmons, Missouri Office of Administration, Columbia

Francis Slay, Mayor of St. Louis, St. Louis

R.T. Turner, Buchanan County Presiding Commissioner, St. Joseph

Dennis Wood, Missouri State Representative, Kimberling City

Jessica Machetta reports [Download/listen MP3]