LINCOLN — With census day fast approaching, cities and towns all across North Dakota are doing their best to make sure everyone is counted, and that includes Lincoln, where getting the count could bring major upgrades to the city.

“So it’s very crucial that everybody, when they get a mailing in the mail from the census, to fill that out,” said Lincoln Mayor Gerarld Wise.

Lincoln — a town that logged just over 2,400 people in the 2010 census. But city officials estimate that number has ballooned to over 4,800 with the recent annexation of the Apple Creek trailer community.

Mayor Wise said the city is now tantalizingly close to a population of 5,000. Getting there with this census would classify Lincoln as a major city in the eyes of the state, meaning their share of funding from the ‘Operation Prairie Dog’ law would go from just over $1 million to $2.5 million.

“Every person that gets counted obviously, the city benefits from the state for tax purposes. That money can be used for infrastructure, roads, curb and gutter, new water tanks, it’s very crucial that everyone gets counted,” Wise said.

And that’s money Lincoln City Council President Brandon Schock said would be used to construct a new wastewater treatment plant.

That’s something the city needs badly, because the current wastewater lagoon was built to accommodate a population of just under 5,000, meaning the lagoon is operating at or near its capacity.

“With years when it’s wet, we’ve got extra water, people’s sump pumps are running into the sewer system, we discharge once or twice a summer. This year we did six,” said Schock.

Mayor Wise said the additional Prairie Dog funds will also take some financial stress off other city departments, but none of that will happen if you don’t fill out your census forms.

Mayor Wise added that they plan on doing a story on the importance of the census in the monthly letter distributed to residents next month.