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Various town government departments submit monthly reports to the town of Franklin Board of Aldermen. The board receives the reports as part of their monthly agenda packet. The information details the works of the town and different departments in Franklin.

Franklin Police Department
The police department responded to 827 calls from Feb. 24, until March 30. Of the 141 reports filed, 44 were accidents, 32 were arrests, and 71 were incident/ investigations. Enforcement actions during the time period included 32 arrests, 72 citations, 35 criminal papers obtained, and 24 warning citations.

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The clock is ticking for the 2015 elections, with just three months left before the filing period opens in Macon County. Both the town of Franklin and the town of Highlands have several seats up for election, with filing for either board opening at 8 a.m. on Monday, July 6, and running until noon on Friday, July 17.

In Franklin, four seats are open and includes three aldermen positions and the office of mayor. The aldermen up for election include Verlin Curtis, Farrell Jamison, and Joyce Handley. When asked via email if they had made plans to run for re-election, Handley stated that she had not yet made a decision. Curtis and Farrell did not respond.

Mayor Bob Scott, who is currently serving his first term, was affirmative in his plans to once again seek office, citing more work needing to be done.

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Want to know what's happening in Franklin this summer? Visitors and residents will soon be able to look to the sky to find out what is coming up. Monday night, with unanimous support from the Franklin Board of Aldermen, the issue regarding hanging banners gained momentum, moving it one step closer to official approval.

Franklin business owner Larry Hollifield brought the issue before the board earlier this year hoping to convince town leadership to reconsider a policy that specifically prohibited banners from being hung across Main Street. Hollifield was tasked by aldermen with forming a committee to establish a revised policy concerning banners and presented the new terms to board members during their April meeting.

Hollifield worked with other business owners to define appropriate banners as special event advertising displayed by non-profits or a group of businesses to promote events that benefit the downtown area. The banners would be hung in one specific location, that would need approval from the Department of Transportation. Hollifield noted that the suggested location be the second cross walk when topping so-called town hill at a height of 20 feet to avoid interference with semi-trucks.

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North Carolina’s statewide unemployment rate (not seasonally adjusted) was 5.7 percent in February. This was a 0.2 of a percentage-point decrease from January’s revised rate, and a 1.2 percentage-point decline over the year. Over the month, the unemployment rate decreased in 89 counties, while increasing in five and remaining unchanged in six.

Thirty-nine counties had unemployment rates at or below the state’s 5.7 percent rate.

Graham and Hyde counties recorded February’s highest unemployment rate at 14.2 percent, followed by Dare at 13.7 percent, and Tyrrell at 11.9 percent. Orange County had the lowest unemployment rate at 4.2 percent, followed by Buncombe at 4.3 percent, Wake at 4.4 percent and Chatham at 4.5 percent.

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Depleted reserve fund prompting policy changes.

With an insurance reserve fund dwindling with the likelihood that it would not survive another year, County Manager Derek Roland found himself scrambling to ensure county employees continued to be insured.

With just a little over a year on the job, Roland was faced with the dilemma of how Macon County was going to pay for its employees' insurance in the 2015-16 fiscal year. Based on the amount of money commissioners have been putting into employee insurance since 2008, and the amount of funds utilized annually from the county's insurance reserve fund, if things continue the way they are, Macon County will see a more than $1 million deficit in regards to insurance next year.

After months of meeting with the county's insurance agent, establishing a 10-person committee, and soliciting 10 different proposals from insurance providers, Roland presented commissioners with a complete overhaul of the county's insurance policy on Tuesday night. In total, the county's new insurance plan is going to come with an annual price tag of $3.8 million for the county's on average 408 employees, a $529,000 increase over what the county is currently paying.

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Policy institutes ‘due process’ prior to termination.

The North Carolina General Assembly has introduced legislation that will effectively end tenure for state teachers and move toward a pay-for-performance salary scale.

The process, which is expected to be fully implemented statewide by 2018, ultimately phases out longevity pay for teachers, resulting in some educators being denied the opportunity for due-process in the event that their employment is terminated.

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In the last five years, the Macon County Board of Commissioners has only passed one ordinance. That is, one law, one regulation, one instance in a five-year period that spans at least four different combinations of commission boards where both parties have been in majority control.

While only implementing one new ordinance, the ordinance banning tobacco use on all county property, the Macon County Board of Commissioners has made a habit out of reducing existing ordinances and regulations, a point both Commission Chair Kevin Corbin and Commissioner Ronnie Beale drilled home Tuesday night.

"Since I have been on this board, I can think of four or five times we have reviewed existing ordinances and actually reduced them," said Corbin. "I personally am a firm believer in fewer government regulations and making sure that property owners can do anything, within the scope of the law, that they want to do on their own property."

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By state statute, Macon County is responsible for providing funding for the Macon Campus of Southwestern Community College (SCC), and last year, Macon County did so to the tune of about $320,000.

While last year's county budget actually increased funds for expenses at the Macon Campus by about $40,000, the overall SCC allocation was decreased, something that apparently upset Jackson officials.

"I know the commissioners were disappointed with the $200,000 reduction in support by Macon County for SCC," said Jackson County manager Chuck Wooten. "I do believe there is concern among the [Jackson] commissioners with the idea of providing support to Macon following their action to reduce the support for the SCC budget."

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A registered sex offender is behind bars in Macon County after being arrested for indecent liberties with a child.

Franklin Police Department received a report on March 28 involving suspected indecent liberties with a child. According to Franklin Police Chief David Adams, after investigating the report, which was submitted by the victim's grandmother, Anthony Godfrey, 56, was arrested at his residence without incident.

"Our detectives interviewed the suspect and after an investigation, made the arrest," said Adams. "The suspect is allegedly the boyfriend of the child's grandmother, who filed the report."

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While prepping his annual budget, which totals about $6 million, Macon County Sheriff Robert Holland does his best to estimate how much he needs to allocate for mental health commitments.

Since 2006, the cost of involuntary commitments in Macon County has increased by nearly 850 percent. In 2006, MCSO deputies were spending on average 12 man hours per commitment, costing the department $29,964 that year. Now, eight years later, those numbers have dramatically increased. Officers are now spending 41 hours per commitment, with more than double the number of commitments per year, costing the department around $253,625.

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