WASHINGTON — The city will pay $800 per month plus utilities to lease office space in the Cherry Tree Shopping Center for U.S. Census Bureau employees and temporary workers conducting a special partial census.

The City Council approved the lease agreement Monday.

Jon Oliphant, Washington's planning and development director, said the lease is for a minimum of three months, starting in mid-October, with two optional one-month extensions.

"The optional months are there in case additional time is needed to conduct the special census because it's being done around the holidays," Oliphant said. "That's not something we want, though, and the Census Bureau doesn't anticipate needing the space for more than 90 days."

Oliphant said the Census Bureau requires a municipality having a special census done to supply temporary office space.

"In our case, an office with a minimum of 800 square feet is needed and we need to provide tables, chairs, filing cabinets and direct phone lines," he said. "Also, the office must be available only to Census Bureau employees and temporary workers six days a week and meet Americans With Disabilities Act regulations.

"The office also needs an open floor plan to give the supervisor the ability to quickly hear about and address staff questions and concerns and enable the supervisor to monitor the office to make sure the people in there have proper authorization."

Public spaces were considered first to save money, Oliphant said, but none met the Census Bureau's criteria.

"Clearly, the Cherry Tree Shopping Center space, which is on the lower level of the shopping center next to Kroger, was the best alternative," Oliphant said.

The space is about 1,900 square feet.

Oliphant said the $800 monthly lease plus utilities cost "is considerably less than if the space were offered for a business use."

Why is the city having a special census done?

It hopes to net about $275,000 in additional revenue before the next decennial U.S. census because of its increased population.

Municipalities receive revenue from the state from income, use and motor fuel taxes on a per capital basis. The Illinois Municipal League estimates Washington's per capita amount will be $151.90 for the 2017-2018 fiscal year.

It will cost the city an estimated $113,570 plus additional expenses like the office lease to have the special census done.

The special census will be in areas of Washington that have experienced substantial population growth since the 2010 U.S. census. The next U.S. census will be in 2020.

Oliphant said he conservatively estimates the special census will add 1,013 to Washington's 2010 census population of 15,134.

Also at Monday's City Council meeting:

- Mayor Gary Manier said Shawn Powell, director of the Washington Tournament of Champions boys high school basketball competition, will be the guest speaker Nov. 16 at the 23rd annual Washington Mayor's Prayer Breakfast.

- Roger Traver, director of operations for the Washington Fire Department, said the department responded to 122 calls in August, including 104 emergency medical services runs. He also said the department's annual open house will be from 1 to 3 p.m. Oct. 15 at the fire station, 200 N. Wilmor Road.

Steve Stein can be reached at 686-3114 or stevestein21@yahoo.com. Follow him on Twitter @SpartanSteve.