The 2011-2012 budget called for extensive cuts across North Carolina in an array of different sectors, most of which provided a public service to the citizens of the state. With the controversy surrounding the spending reduction of the public educational system, as well as health and human services, other cuts went largely unnoticed. Here in Macon County, one that has had a subtle, yet significant impact on the citizens has come with the de-funding of the Highlands Magistrate position.
The Town of Highlands has a population of around 1,500 in the winter months which in the past, required the magistrate to preside only a few times during the week. That number grows significantly to more than 20,000 in the summer months and before the budget cuts took effect, required the service of a magistrate every day. With these latest cuts, Highlands has been left without a magistrate, for the first time in 30 years.