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Macon County is in the process of contracting with a forensic auditor to more fully probe into the county’s Board of Elections department. After discovering that more than $50,000 had been embezzled from the department, Board of Elections Director Kim Bishop was placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of a full investigation.

The State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) along with the District Attorney’s Office suggested that Macon County obtain a third party forensic auditor to look into the situation at the Board of Elections. According to County Manager Derek Roland, the county began the search for a forensic auditor immediately following the initiation of the investigation by the SBI and Macon County Sheriff’s Office.


The average snowfall in Macon County last week measured anywhere from six to 12 inches in various areas. A lot of people found themselves knocked out of work, unable to leave their homes as a result of ice covered roads. Despite being stranded, a silver lining accompanied the storm — very few power outages occurred in the area.

In anticipation of Winter Storm Pax as it was dubbed, Duke Energy began to move crews from other areas of the country into North Carolina and South Carolina. A total of 150 workers from the company's Midwest operations and another 250 from Florida moved to the region in order to work with existing crews of line technicians, service crews and other personnel employed by Duke.

“The severity and impact of the storm depends on several factors, including temperatures and wind. But the clouds are gathering and we are prepared for whatever comes our way,” said Jeff Corbett, senior vice president of Duke Energy's Carolinas Delivery Operations on Monday, Feb. 10, just before the storm set in.


Last Friday evening, the Eastern United States rumbled after a 4.1 magnitude quake hit near Edgefield, S.C. The earthquake that hit at approximately 10:23 p.m. rattled Macon County and could be felt primarily in South Carolina, Georgia and North Carolina, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. No damage or injuries were reported as a result of the quake.

Franklin sits about 160 miles away from the epicenter of the quake, but the impact still startled residents. Macon County News’ Facebook page received messages from residents in Franklin, Otto, Sanderstown, Cullasaja, Clark’s Chapel, Highlands, Nantahala, and surrounding towns such as Andrews and Sylva. Gail Anderson reported that the quake shook her home on Town Mountain in Franklin. “It was the most profound movement of earth I have ever experienced,” wrote Kim Lippy of Otto.


Macon County Sheriff Robbie Holland, with the help of his wife, Marcie, and his son and daughter, files the paperwork to run for sheriff at the Board of Elections Monday.The deadline for filing to run in the 2014 election is Friday, Feb. 28 at noon.

Macon County Sheriff Robbie Holland, with the help of his wife, Marcie, and his son and daughter, files the paperwork to run for sheriff at the Board of Elections Monday.

Commissioner Ronnie Beale filed for the Distict 2 seat on the Macon County Board of Commissioners.

view the full breakdown after the jump!




Macon’s current tax rate lowest in the state at 27.9.

After much debate in 2011, Macon County followed a state-wide trend to delay the 2013 tax revaluation until 2015. Citing a crippling housing market due to the recession, leaders across North Carolina hoped that by delaying the revaluation, time would allow the market to bounce back to improve numbers.

At the time, Richard Lightner, longtime tax assessor for Macon County, explained that due to the recession, the housing market was essentially nonexistent, and with the lack of properties changing hands, there was not enough activity to establish meaningful property values. Lightner also explained that with values being adversely affected due to the market, it would be nearly impossible for his office to establish accurate values that would be adequately defended legally in the event a property owner sought an appeal.


Up until two months ago, the Tourism Development Authority (TDA) had a reserve fund of $100,000, an exact match to its $100,000 budget. When board member Matt Bateman suggested lowering the reserve amount in order to free up some additional funds, the wheels started to turn and once new members came on to the board, things started to happen. Member Josh Drake supported lowering the amount as well and soon, the entire board voted to change the reserve to $50,000.

At Monday night's meeting, the board began to test the waters concerning the extra money that should result from the change. The discussion stemmed from an issue regarding a blog describing town events on http://www.discoverfranklin.com/. Jessica Mason from Premiere Marketing offered to arrange for a writer to put together a blog twice a month for $150 per month where one blog entry would cost $100 per month.


In 2009, Franklin became the first town in the nation to gain the Appalachian Trail Community Designation. Now, almost five years later, 35 towns are known as AT communities. In 2015, the designation is up for renewal. At Monday's Board of Aldermen meeting supporters spoke out to recommend keeping the designation.

Rob Gasparro, co-owner of Outdoor 76 – an outfitters store that specializes in outdoor recreation specific to the region and located on Main Street – was among the first to address the board.

“Our market is the AT community. If there's one thing that our town has to hang on to, it's that designation,” he told the board.


On Tuesday, board members from REACH announced plans to begin a capital campaign in order to raise funds for a new domestic violence shelter that is projected to be constructed by the end of 2015.

At a price tag of $1.2 million and an awarded state grant of $900,000, the campaign will seek to raise the remaining $300,000.

According to board president Bonnie Peggs, the current shelter has six bedrooms for victims of domestic abuse and sexual assault. The new shelter will have 10 bedrooms, each having two beds and a connecting door to an adjacent bedroom so that the bedrooms can be used to serve larger families who may require two bedrooms.


Board to draw up new plan before its March meeting.

The Town of Franklin held its monthly meeting on Monday where members of the community attended to voice their opinions in regards to issues such as the decision to keep a liaison from East Franklin Elementary School, the fate of the Gazebo on Town Square and the Town Hall meetings proposed by Mayor Bob Scott.

Brittney Burns spoke to the board first to show her disapproval of the decision made at last month’s meeting to not establish a liaison at East Franklin.


Macon County Sheriff Robbie Holland requested a $19,000 increase in his department's budget to purchase drugs for undercover operations. During Macon County’s board retreat last month, department heads presented commissioners with a preview of what to expect during the upcoming budget cycle. Holland informed commissioners that a new request this year would be to increase the existing $1,000 provided by the county to purchase drugs used during undercover operations, to a total of $20,000.

Holland insisted that the additional monies are crucial in fighting the county’s drug problem. The $1,000 line item specifically for the sheriff’s office undercover drug operations has remained the same since it was first established in the 1990s. Holland pleaded with commissioners, explaining that undercover drug buys have proved to be the most effective method in fighting the county’s drug problem and stands as the best way to provide evidence during a trial to lead to convictions.


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