Background information for population change story

Assume that today is Tuesday, March 21, 2017, and that the U.S. Census Bureau, at 9 a.m. Central Time, released its population estimates for every county in the United States as of July 1, 2016, including the estimates in the dataset you are working with. The 2010 estimates are also from the Census Bureau.

You are a reporter for The Daily News Journal, a local, daily newspaper based in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Murfreesboro is a city in Rutherford County. Rutherford, one of the 39 counties in Middle Tennessee, lies along the southeastern border of Metro Nashville/Davidson County, the capital of Tennessee. You may use this interactive map of Tennessee counties for reference:

You’re writing a story about the release for your paper’s website. The story will go on the website today, as soon as it can be edited and posted.

Here’s what Rutherford County Mayor Jane Rosenthal says about the figures when you call her for some comments about them:

“Obviously, Rutherford County is thriving. We offer a robust economy, affordable housing, good public schools, top-notch medical facilities, access to higher education, and a temperate climate. Who wouldn’t want to be here? All of that growth does mean that we have to keep up in terms of maintaining and even expanding our roads, bridges, recreation facilities and other infrastructure. That can get expensive. But I don’t foresee a need for tax increases any time soon. Growth produces more tax revenue, because even though no one person pays more in taxes, more people pay taxes. All we have to do is be as efficient and smart as possible in the spending decisions we make.”

Here’s what William Fulks, founder and director of “Keep Rutherford Green,” a local environmental group, had to say:

“Growth is inevitable in a place like Rutherford County. But it’s critically important to grow in a managed, paced, responsible way. And that might include saying ‘no’ to a rate of growth that the area’s natural resources just can’t handle. The faster you build roads, cover up green space, disturb topsoil, make garbage, produce sewage, pump pollution into the air and consume water, the harder it is for the environment to recover from the disruption and replenish the depletion. We’ve made a lot of progress in the last decade, but some serious challenges remain. For example, our landfill is about to become our ‘landfull.’ Where are we going to put our garbage once we can’t put it there anymore? And many of these housing subdivisions are replacing key natural habitat with shingled roofs, concrete roads and driveways, and manicured lawns that drink up water in the summertime and stay green with the help of fertilizers and weed killers that run off into the streams and rivers. Some growth is good, even essential. But too much growth in too short a time can do serious, irreversible damage.”