On Tuesday, the public had its chance to voice any opposition they had towards Duke Energy and their proposed rate hikes. Duke Energy has proposed a 9.7 percent increase in its electric rates. The North Carolina Utilities Commission is holding hearings across the state to allow the public to have their say. Franklin was the site of one of these hearings — the only one west of Asheville — and people filled the courtroom designated for the hearing at the Macon County Court House Tuesday night.
Macon County commissioners got their first glimpse at the 2013-14 proposed budget on Monday night during the regularly scheduled monthly meeting of the board of commissioners.
“Macon County continues to maintain a solid financial position compared with many counties in North Carolina,” said County Manager Jack Horton. “The county currently has the lowest ad valorem property rate among all 100 counties in North Carolina at 27.9 cents per $100, and our fund balance remains healthy. This continues to provide a high degree of financial security in terms of being prepared for unexpected emergencies and shortfalls in revenue.
Monday night, the Macon County Board of Commissioners met in Highlands for its regularly scheduled May meeting. Among items discussed, was County Manager Jack Horton's 2013-2014 proposed budget. By law, Horton must present a balanced budget to commissioners to review as a balanced budget must be approved and submitted to the state by June 18.
With possible state budget cuts to education still to come and the uncertainty of funding sources, the school system was forced to turn to the county in April to request $9,567,455 from county commissioners for the 2013-14 school year; an increase of $2,656,455 from this school year.
The Macon County Humane Society hosted its fifth annual Super Adoption Day last Saturday. The event featured adoptable pets from seven rescues and shelters in the area, including Macon County Humane Society, Macon County Animal Control, Rabun Paws 4 Life, P.A.W.S. Bryson City, Cashiers-Highlands Humane Society, Toccoa-Stephens Humane Shelter, and WNC Large Breed K-9 Rescue.
With more than 50 pets adopted, the event was an undeniable success. Todd Ortiz, shelter manager at Macon County Humane Society, is grateful to all who came to show support.
Last Thursday, William Shilling, 51, was arrested and charged with misdemeanor counts of simple physical assault and simple non-physical assault. Shilling is an attorney with the Macon County Department of Social Services.
According to documents on file at the Macon County Clerk's office, an arrest warrant signed by magistrate Miciah Leatherman states that there was probable cause to believe that Shilling inflicted physical injury to his child, who is less that 16 years old. “The physical injury inflicted caused a red mark on the victim's abdomen, and was inflicted by other than accidental means,” reads the warrant.
The complaint and motion on file states that Shilling assaulted the child after an altercation over the child's grades. According to his wife Cheryl's testimony, the child “got a ‘C’ last grading period in Algebra, Bill took a steak knife, punched it into the wall, jerked and removed it off the wall, removed all of [the child's] gaming systems devices, and told him if he didn't improve his grades, he would beat them into him and clear his room so it looked like a prison cell.”
The warrant continues to claim that Shilling allegedly threatened to physically harm his wife Cheryl Shilling and their son by saying, “I will kill you and I will burn the dogs alive and I will burn the house down.”
An additional warrant states charges of assault on a female after Leatherman found probable cause that Shilling forcefully used his chest to push the victim into a wall in the couples’ residence.
District Court Judge Donna Forga issued a Domestic Violence Protective Order forbidding Shilling from contacting his wife or minor son until Feb. 24.
Additional documents on file at the Clerk's Office signed by Judge Forga, report that in Cheryl Shilling’s request for the domestic violence protective order, on Feb. 9, William Shilling threatened to have Cheryl involuntarily committed and to remove their son's limbs to torture the child. Forga's report states that on Feb. 8, Cheryl claims that Shilling threatened to blow his own brains out and has threatened to drive their vehicle into a ravine making the child an orphan. It also states that Shilling has reportedly said that he wants to bludgeon the child. The document also states that the couple owns two handguns, one in their home and one in the law office.
Shilling was originally released on a $500 bond under orders not to have any contact with his wife or son due to a domestic violence protective order. On Feb. 15, he was once again arrested after sending an email to his wife, and leaving a letter addressed to the child, violating the protective order. Due to the violation, Shilling had to spend 48 hours in jail.
In response to the allegations against him, Shilling has filed a series of documents with the Clerk of Court’s office claiming that his wife's allegations are “baseless and wholly exaggerated.” He requested that the court release monies, personal items, his vehicle; grant visitation with the minor child and custody of his dog, and return office items.
Shilling is scheduled to appear in court on March 7.