Following are a few numbers that may be of interest. Some have been in the news but most have not. The topics jump around. There is no attempt here to make a point, or for anything to be accomplished beyond offering some things that might be of interest. So, here goes:

Following are a few numbers that may be of interest. Some have been in the news but most have not. The topics jump around. There is no attempt here to make a point, or for anything to be accomplished beyond offering some things that might be of interest. So, here goes:

• Signs entering Crookston and East Grand Forks show the 2010 popultions in those cities of 7,891 and 8,601, respectively.

Some history is noted in materials that the Census Bureau is using to prepare us for the 2020 census. This includes that Crookston’s population in 1980 was 8,628. It was 8,119 in 1990, then 8,192 in 1990, and the 7,891 total that was counted in 2010.

East Grand Forks’ population was 8,537 in 1980. After a slight bump to 8,658 in 1990 there was a decrease of more than 1,100 to 7,501 in the 2000 count. That decrease occurred after the flood of 1997 when people, especially people who had their homes paid for, moved on because they couldn’t justify rebuild- ing at significantly higher costs, even having to take out a home loan. Only 8 homes in the entire city had managed to stay dry. By 2010, the population had recovered quite bit to 8,601.

• American Crystal Sugar Co. (counting plants in Crookston and East Grand Forks) is the county’s largest employer with 563 employees. First Care Medical Services hospital, a home health services business, is listed in Census Bureau records as having 501 employees. LTS Sugar (no information is given beyond the name) is listed third at 402 employees. New Flyer of America, Inc. and the University of Minnesota- Crookston are both said to have 400 employees. Polk County has 390 employees, the East Grand Forks School

District has 345, Wall Mart Super Center has 335, Essentia Health in Fosston has 300 and the Crookston School District has 227.

What isn’t noted in these employment numbers is any distinction between fulltime and parttime positions.

• Census Bureau records show that Enbridge Energy LP is the largest county prop- erty taxpayer at $1,366,722.

This might trigger you to think about the Enbridge property tax appeal that is still in the courts and how it has the potential to become even bigger problem then first thought.

• And now for some num- bers from a report on social service spending in Polk County: There was $107,696,468 that was spent in 2017 (the last year for 5 percent of the total. Federal and state contributions basically pay for programs that they have created and man- dated through legislation. The role of Polk County Social Services centers on the distribution of that money to those who have been deter- mined to be eligible to receive it.

Of the $107.7 million, $65,418,057 (61 percent) was for “medical assistance” (M.A.) and $32,877,548 (30 percent) went for “social service” programs. The remaining $9,400,863 (9 per- cent) was spent on “support services.”

The make-up of these three areas of assistance include:

M.A. includes care in nursing homes or immediate care facilities, health and dental care, child and teen check-up programs, and pro- grams that assist clients in staying in their homes rather than in expensive medical facilities.

Social Service programs are those that address the wellbeing of children (adoption, protection, life skills training, and child welfare), childcare, chemical dependency, mental health, develop- mental disabilities, and adult services.

Support Services provide supplemental aid for the aged, blind or disabled. They also assist families in working out of poverty and fund cash assistance programs, employment training, child support enforcement collections, and group residential housing for persons who would normally be cared for in nursing homes.

While social service spending is questioned by some of some, there are a lot of people who have needs that need to be addressed. Those of us who do not need assistance need to accept the fact that “there, but for the grace of God, go I.”

Thoughts expressed in this column are those of the author and are not necessarily a reflection of the opinions of the other members of the Polk County Board of Commissioners