Quay County population continues decline

Thomas Garcia

The 2010 Census numbers released Tuesday show an 11 percent population drop for Quay County since 2000.

“There is always a possibility of underreporting in rural areas,” said Patrick Vanderpool, executive director of the Tucumcari Economic Development Corporation.

In 2000 the reported Census population for Quay County was 10,155. The 2010 Census population for Quay County is 9,041. In Tucumcari, the population dropped about 9 percent, from 5,989 to 5,363, records show.

Tucumcari’s population decreased from 5,989 in 2000 to 5,363 in 2010, a 10 percent decline.

Vanderpool said there is no way to be certain there was an underreporting for the county.

“We will just have to continue as we have in the past,” Vanderpool said.

Vanderpool said the lower numbers will not have much of an impact on the EDC applying for state or federal grants.

“We are listed as a rural or frontier community,” Vanderpool said. “This classification is for areas with a population less than 10,000.”

A lower population may translate to problems for community development projects, said Doug Powers, community development director for Tucumcari.

“It may cause some additional paperwork and manpower hours in our application for community development block grants (CDBGs),” Powers said.

Powers said one of the minimum requirement for applying for a community development block grant is a 51 percent low-to-moderate income population for the county. He said in 2000 the percentage was 50.9, which resulted in the need for surveys to be conducted by the community before the projects could start.

“Surveys can be costly,” Powers said. “If you mail out 2,500 surveys, the postage cost alone is high. Then you have the added hours of processing the surveys.”

Powers said in the past three years CDBGs have provided money for the Third Street and Second Street improvement projects.

Vanderpool said the EDC knew before the start of the new year that state capital outlay funding was going to be scarce.

“Our area is fortunate to be able to apply for the United Stated Department of Agricultural Rural Development programs,” Vanderpool said.

Vanderpool said the USDA is aggressively seeking communities that qualify for the grants, which can be used for small business development and renewable energy projects.

“We need to continue applying for these funds and bring more development to our area,” Vanderpool said.