- published 3/27 (Larry) - unpublished ?

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News General

The Macon County Planning Board continues to consider the needs throughout the county, namely when it comes to the growth that some areas may experience in the years to come. At last Thursday's meeting, Town of Highlands Mayor Pat Taylor was in attendance to give an in-depth overview of the town and the current state of its infrastructure, noting some expenditures that he hoped could be carried out in the future.

Highlands is an unusual municipality in that its population fluctuates throughout the seasons. It has a water plant that produces 100,000 gallons of clean, purified water per day in the winter months, but 1.5 million gallons per day in the summer with a sewer system that produces similar numbers.

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When the recession struck in full force in 2008, the housing market was one of the hardest hit industries. Transactions came to an abrupt halt. Houses were no longer being built. No one was buying or selling, and those who already had mortgages, could no longer afford to pay them.

Foreclosure numbers tripled. While the economy has started to improve over the last year, the housing market has been one of the slowest industries to bounce back. According to the North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts, in 2013, Macon County reported 200 foreclosures, with Jackson County reporting 256. So far this year, Macon County has recorded 34 foreclosures and Jackson County reported 82, with 58 of those being last month alone.

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced that farmers and ranchers can sign-up for disaster assistance programs beginning this month. Quick implementation of the programs has been a top priority for USDA.

The Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) and the Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP) will provide payments to eligible producers for livestock deaths and grazing losses that have occurred since the expiration of the livestock disaster assistance programs in 2011, and including calendar years 2012, 2013, and 2014.

Enrollment is also under way for producers with losses covered by the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP) and the Tree Assistance Program (TAP).

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In a move to save Macon County taxpayers money, the local Board of Elections petitioned the state last week for the termination of Director Kim Bishop. While the investigation into the alleged embezzlement of more than $50,000 continues, members of the Board of Elections are turning to the state for help.

“The board took the action available to us by state statue and we expect a State Board of Elections decision within about three weeks, said board member Gary Dills. “I do not presume their decision nor the status of the on-going SBI investigation.”

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published: 10/18/2013
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