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News General

‘Stepping Up’ initiative addresses issue, raises awareness and increases services

Since becoming president of the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners (NCACC), Ronnie Beale has been working to bring the state's mental health crisis to the forefront. Seeing the struggles mental health issues cause locally in Macon County, Beale has made it a state priority to address the issue, and increase awareness and services for those affected.

Last week, the Macon County Board of Commissioners (BOC) passed a resolution in support of the National Association of Counties "Stepping Up" initiative.

"The Stepping Up initiative is a state and nationwide effort to get mental health services to those who are incarcerated," said Beale. "Our local jails and state prisons have become overrun with citizens needing this help."


Macon County's homeless population was top priority on Tuesday night when members of the community addressed commissioners. While it is hard to determine the actual number of homeless individuals in the area, recent studies conducted in the region show that there are more than 20 homeless individuals in Macon County. That number varies based on circumstances, but despite the fluctuating homeless population, one thing remains true, there are Macon County residents who do not have a place to sleep at night.

Lowell Monteith, pastor of Father’s House, signed up for public comment period to speak to commissioners regarding a recent notice from the county regarding the building he is operating as not being up to code.


Board looking at $500k reduction in revenues this year.

Three years ago, the state lawmakers implemented a plan to withhold 10 percent of North Carolina counties' Medicaid Cost Settlement funds, while reviewing local departments' programs. After three years, those funds were expected to be released back to local departments. According to Macon County Board of Health Director Jim Bruckner, when it came time to release those funds, the state failed to do so. For Macon County, that means $125,000 over three years that the health department is having to scramble to make up. The 10 percent withholding, paired with the fiscal year 2015 Medicaid Cost Settlement funds that have yet to be released to the county, has left the local health department looking at an unanticipated $484,121 reduction this budget year.


Mayor wants to address issue before problems occur.

July's Franklin town board agenda covered everything from approving a new antenna for an existing cell tower, to sending items to the planning board for review before final approval by the board.

The board unanimously voted to allow wireless provider T-Mobile to add an antenna to the cell phone tower located on Cunningham Road. Justin Setser, Franklin's Town Land Use Administrator reviewed TMobile's request and recommended its approval to the board. T-Mobile will be adding three new antennas and associated appurtenances to the existing tower, which will boost cell reception for the phone provider within Franklin.


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