Officials want new status for Lufkin to ease headaches

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - By Holley Nees - email

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Lufkin City Manager Paul Parker wants his town to be labeled a metropolitan area, saving the city hundreds of hours on grant applications.

"If we become a Standard Metropolitan Statistical Area, SMSA, which is over 50,000, it opens up a lot of different grant proposals, a lot of money goes directly to the city instead of being on a competitive basis," said Parker

Lufkin and some surrounding areas like Hudson were considered a micropolitan area in the last census.

This time around Parker is hoping more than 50,000 people will be counted, making it a metropolitan area.

"Make sure we maximize the number of people in the SMSA, which takes in Huntington, Hudson, not just the city of Lufkin, so it's larger than just the city population which was slightly over 32,000," said Parker.

Being a metro means some government money comes automatically, like funding for a transportation system and community development grants like housing projects.

Parker says even if they don't reach the standard for MSA with 50,000 residents, they need an accurate count, so if they do have to continue competing for funding, they'll have the upper-hand with bigger numbers.

"It's hard for us to plan with the streets, water, sewer lines, extensions, parks especially, different recreational activities, we need to know the composite make-up of our population by race, by numbers,"  said Parker.

Election officials hope the undercounted will start sending in their forms so the city will have to fight for less funding.

Below are the estimated population totals for counties in East Texas, which the U.S. Census Bureau released Tuesday. Last year's estimates are in parentheses.

Angelina: 83,675 (82,841)

Cherokee: 48,473 (48, 235)

Houston: 22,363 (22,531)

Jasper: 34,370 (34,294)

Nacogdoches: 64,117 (63,351)

Newton: 13,667 (13,726)

Polk: 46,530 (46,604)

Rusk: 49,180 (48,949)

Sabine: 10,208 (10,114)

San Augustine: 8,574 (8,631)

Trinity: 13,897 (13,934)

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