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Stories of the city's population loss have been greatly exaggerated, Mayor Joe Jenkins says.

Jenkins said the city asked the Census Bureau to re-evaluate its estimate of Provo population for 1988 after it showed a decline to 73,254. The bureau's revised figures show Provo with a population of 82,516.All those missing residents mean a lot to the city, Jenkins said.

"A lot of (federal) dollars flow into the community based on population," Jenkins said. Also, the Legislature passed a bill in 1981 that provides for revenue sharing among Utah cities. Sales tax is redistributed to cities based partly on population.

"As we look at the sales-tax revenue in Provo City, half stays home and half is portioned out," Jenkins said. "We noticed this year we had lost sales tax revenue - up to $100,000 - on the basis that population had decreased when it really hadn't."

But there is another reason the city sought to have its population figures corrected.

"We've taken a little bit of ribbing from other cities across the state - good-naturedly - that we are losing population."

So to all those good-natured jokesters: Quit yer laughing.