By SHELLEY TERRY - firstname.lastname@example.org
In the 2010 Census, Ashtabula saw its population drop nearly 9 percent from 2000.
The state sent City Manager Anthony Cantagallo the U.S. Census Bureau population results, which show the city lost more than 2,300 residents since the 2000 census.
“The Secretary of the State of Ohio, by proclamation, advised me that the population of the city of Ashtabula is now 19,124 people, which means we lost 2,300-plus people since the year 2000,” Cantagallo said at City Council’s meeting Monday night.
The 2010 Census shows there are 9,304 houses in Ashtabula, of which 8,095 are occupied, Cantagallo said. “This is after I have taken down 104,” he said.
High percentages of city residents live below the poverty line, according to the 2010 Census. Nearly one in three individuals live in poverty, as do 22.5 percent of families. The Census Bureau uses a set of money-income thresholds that vary by family size and composition to determine who is in poverty. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services poverty guidelines for 2009-10 were $10,830 for a one-person household, $18,310 for a three-person household, and $22,050 for a four-person household.
“This is the number that’s really startling,” Cantagallo said. “The per capita income, adjusted for inflation, in the city of Ashtabula is $16,809. That’s annually.”
The city manager said he finds the numbers appalling, and it’s difficult to get things done with little money. Cantagallo wants to work with City Council to discuss where the city’s future income will come from, he said. As more and more people move out of the city, income-tax revenues decrease, he said.
Cantagallo says raising taxes is not a reasonable option.
“With these kinds of numbers, there’s no way anyone who has a micro of intelligence is going to vote to pay more taxes,” he said. “Not with the number of people we have living below the poverty line.”