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News General

With the uncertainty of what the state's future plans for public education are, Macon County's Board of Education is once again turning to commissioners to fill the void left by state budget cuts. Each year, the school system develops a capital outlay budget to address maintenance concerns in the district.

While general statute identifies public education to be a state responsibility, there are exceptions to the rule, such as infrastructure and maintenance to buildings, that fall under the county's responsibility. In order to meet those needs, year after year the county has designated a pocket of money known as capital outlay specifically designated to infrastructure renovations and development.

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The League of Women Voters hosted guest speaker Kevin Corbin, Chairman of the County Commissioners on Wednesday, Feb. 14. Corbin gave updates of the goings on within the board of county commissioners and allowed the audience a chance to ask questions and make comments.

The discussion began with an update regarding the situation of Whitley Products Inc., the local manufacturing plant that closed down recently and that has since reopened for production. The company is currently in a state of‚ “receivership,” which means that the company can no longer pay its bills and therefore becomes bank owned. The bank then puts a third party in charge to run it until it is sold. The commissioners have worked with the Economic Development Commission (EDC) and County Manager Jack Horton to keep the factory up and running. Commissioners, the EDC, and the Town Board have since held meetings with an engineering firm who has shown interest in purchasing the company. Corbin was unable to disclose the name of the potential buyer.

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In the first split vote since membership on the board changed after the November election, Macon County commissioners voted 3-2 to purchase 12 new defibrillators for ambulances in the county. At the recommendation of Emergency Service Director David Key, Commissioners Ronnie Beale, Kevin Corbin and Jimmy Tate cast the majority votes needed to purchase the equipment at a total cost to the county of $374,000 which includes a 1.57 percent interest rate over a 59-month period.

According to Key, the new equipment is definitely needed, with the age of some defibrillators exceeding 10 years, when the recommended usage is half that. The 12 devices for which the county gave approval will not only replace out-dated equipment, they will also consolidate devices, explained Terry Bates, EMS coordinator. “These machines will be used on every patient that rides in our ambulances,” said Key.

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The Postal Service’s financial hardships continued in the first quarter of this fiscal year as the agency waits for Congressional action to address its mounting debt. The U.S. Postal Service ended the first three months of its 2013 fiscal year (Oct. 1 – Dec. 31, 2012) with a net loss of $1.3 billion. Continued growth in shipping and package revenue (+4.7 percent) and increased efficiency helped mitigate but could not fully offset the financial effects of continued First-Class Mail volume declines and costs that are beyond Postal Service management control.

As a result, the Postal Service announced last week that it would move forward with accelerated cost-cutting actions necessary to help maintain liquidity because Congress has not passed comprehensive postal reform legislation.

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