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News General

Highlands gets new faces of leadership

The makeup of the Highlands municipal elections was quite different from that of Franklin’s. While just 66 voters went to the polls in Franklin, 258 voters went on Election Day in Highlands to fill out their ballots, while 11 One Stop votes were cast. There were six provisional ballots as well.

While Franklin’s candidates ran unopposed, Highlands saw two commissioners drop out of the race, leaving upstart candidates an easy in for election. Highlands Board of Commissioners are elected every four years. The mayor and board serve four-year “staggered terms.”

Three seats were open this municipal election year in Highlands, held by commissioners Dennis DeWolf, John Dotson, and Larry Rogers. Dotson filed to run again, while DeWolf and Rogers decided to give up their seats at the threshold of the election.

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Sylva’s board of commissioners will be welcoming back Chris Matheson and fellow board member, Harold Hensley, who were both re-elected to the town board Tuesday night. Lynda Sossamon, a former Sylva board member was also elected to fill the third open seat.

The newest addition to Sylva’s town board is no stranger to town politics. Sossamon, who was elected to Sylva’s town board with 152 of the 619 votes which were cast, first served on the board from 1998-2001.

According to Sossamon, after her first round on the board, she took time off to focus on the family business with her husband. A graduate of Western Carolina University, Sossamon plans to use her chemistry degree and 27 years of business experience to approach political issues in a logical way, bringing a fresh perceptive to the commissioners.

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Macon County Board of Commissioners agreed to take a closer look at enacting term limits for county advisory boards last Tuesday night during their regularly scheduled meeting, following an extended conversation on the topic which arose last month.

A previous board of commissioners decided to eliminate term limits from county advisory boards, but Chairman Brian McClellan and Commissioner Ron Haven believe the policy should be reconsidered. At the meeting in October, Haven made a recommendation to limit service to two terms of three years each for advisory boards, but commissioners decided to delay the motion until the list of advisory boards was narrowed down.

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County announces contract for economic development

Local government officials from Macon County and the municipalities of Highlands and Franklin convened last Thursday night to discuss ongoing and future projects, and to announce personnel updates within their respected organizations. Macon County Commissioners, Highlands Commissioners, and Franklin’s Board of Aldermen come together three times a year at a joint meeting in an effort to improve overall collaboration between the three entities. The Town of Highlands hosted the year’s last session at Wolfgang’s restaurant on Main Street in Highlands.

“I can’t keep talking about the continuity that we’ve had with this gathering three times a year, because it just allows us to get a relationship and camaraderie with the group,” said Franklin Mayor Joe Collins.

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