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News General

With an ordinance as the only roadblock, Jeff Wang, owner of Jeff’s Ammo & Arms, petitioned to the town Monday night to consider a formal request to construct and operate an indoor shooting range at 245 Carolina Mountain Drive.

According to town attorney John Henning Jr., Franklin has an ordinance that would prevent such a business from operating. According to the ordinance, it is unlawful to shoot a gun inside the city limits. Although Franklin’s ordinance resembles other ordinances from across the state, Franklin’s does not have an exception for commercial use, like at a shooting range, as some municipalities have.

“There is the problem that it is unlawful to discharge a firearm in the city limits of Franklin unless you're an officer of the law,” said Henning.

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Building the county’s financial stability while facing uncertain legislative challenges seems to be the common theme throughout the 2015-16 budget planning process. County Manager Derek Roland presented commissioners with a $46.6 million budget last Thursday night, and in a two and a half hour work session on Tuesday, commissioners hashed out the details.

The budget was proposed at $46,646,357, with balanced revenues and expenditures. The proposed budget, while less than the 2013-14 levels, exhibits an increase over the current fiscal year.

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Macon to get $50,000 to help with provided services.

A debate initiated by Macon County Commissioner Jim Tate last year has finally seen some resolution, even if it isn’t quite the solution Macon County had hoped for. Last Thursday, the Jackson County Board of Commissioners unanimously voted to establish a “Highlands” fire district for homes located along the Macon/Jackson border. The fire district, which includes more than 300 homes, will require property owners to pay just shy of a penny fire tax to generate $50,000 requested by the Highlands Fire Department.

Commissioner Tate brought the issue to the Macon County board, which after an in depth study showed that Macon County taxpayers pay about $160,000 a year to provide service to the 332 homes on the border, which are actually within Jackson County borders.

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During its annual budget retreat, the town of Franklin presented a budget reflecting a one cent tax increase for the coming year.

Due to the property tax revaluation in Macon County this year, the town's property value declined by $7,281,676 in assessed value, equating to a 1.014 percent reduction. Factoring in the new tax base, the town would need to increase the current tax rate of .27 to .2727 to maintain a revenue neutral budget.

Since 2007, the town of Franklin's tax base has grown on average by 2.07 percent. In applying a growth factor to the town's current tax rate of .2727, to produce a revenue neutral tax rate, the town would need to increase the rate to .2784 cents per $100 valuation.

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