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After a six-month long process, The Macon County Board of Commissioners approved the 2012/2013 budget during its regularly scheduled June board meeting on Tuesday night. Without having to raise the county-wide tax rates, the commissioners worked with department heads, the finance director, and County Manager Jack Horton to establish a $44,391,193 balanced budget for next year.

Next year's budget, although three percent more than the current year's budget, redirects funds and utilizes the reserved fund balance in order to avoid raising taxes and passing the burden on to Macon County residents.

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The task of establishing water and sewer rates is not an easy one for the Town of Franklin Board of Aldermen. As part of adopting the proposed $8.4 million budget for the 2012-13 fiscal year, aldermen contemplated the issue at their meeting on Monday, which included a public hearing.

Two residents voiced their concerns at the hearing about the water and sewer rate schedule. The proposed budget levies for an average increase of six percent for water and 14 percent for sewer services.

 

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Board of commissioners taking bids on renovations.

Since the Macon County public pool was first constructed in 1974, its infrastructure and design has remained unchanged. Aside from the occasional coat of paint, or applying a mix of sand and paint to keep the floors slip resistant, no substantial maintenance projects have been ordered for the pool, which according to commissioners, needs to be addressed.

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Sheriff’s recommendations not heeded by officials.

During a June 4 budget work session for the Jackson County Board of Commissioners, board members voted to revoke Sheriff Jimmy Ashe’s ability to provide the state ABC board with the local recommendation regarding suitability for businesses to sell alcohol. In a 3-2 vote, Commission Chairman Jack Debnam and Commissioners Doug Cody and Charles Elders voted in favor of releasing the Sheriff of the duty, and Commissioners Mark Jones and Joe Cowan voted against the measure.

On May 8, voters in Jackson County overwhelming voted in support of a referendum permitting countywide alcohol sales in unincorporated areas. County officials had to appoint a local designee to approve or deny suitability on behalf of the local government for applicants seeking alcohol permits.

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Plans are currently under way to alleviate Macon County’s dismal child care prospects.

Last month, Town Planner Derek Roland submitted a statement to the media regarding the issue, lauding the efforts of locals to increase the availability of childcare facilities in Franklin. The statement followed the town’s allocation of water and sewer services to an organization seeking to establish a new center on 2255 Old Murphy Road.

“It is no secret that a significant and growing shortage of child care capacity exists in Macon County,” said Roland in his statement. “

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The Macon County Art Association (MCAA) is again announcing its Veteran’s Portrait Project.

The MCAA is asking families to submit a photo of a local veteran and to write a limited two to three paragraph essay about the veteran. Families should bring the picture, essay and submitter’s contact information to the gallery at 30 E Main Street, Franklin. The deadline for submitting portraits is June 30. If more than 10 vet portrait requests are submitted the project committee will select from these and advise those families that are not selected to resubmit next year.

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The North Carolina State Highway Patrol along with the Division of Law Enforcement from the Wildlife Resources Commission and local law enforcement have released the Memorial Day Weekend totals for “On the Road, On the Water, Don’t Drink and Drive” campaign. The “On the Road, On the Water, Don’t Drink and Drive” campaign is a multi-agency initiative that is designed to combine law enforcement resources to ensure that all motorists can safely travel on highways and waterways during the summer months.

Operation “On the Road, On the Water, Don’t Drink and Drive” will continue on the Fourth of July and Labor Day weekends. Troopers along with Wildlife Resource officers and local law enforcement will be conducting various driving while impaired checkpoints near parks and water recreational areas.

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After months of back and forth between the Town of Franklin and the Tourism Development Authority (TDA) regarding the location of the August Biker Rally dubbed, the “Smoky Mountain Rumble,” the TDA hopes to have found a solution.

The rally, which has been slated for Aug. 17- 19, is now set to be held on property on US 64 East near the 441 interchange, the site of the Shriners carnival and several Gem Shows. Event promoter Sylvia Cochran attended the special called TDA meeting last Wednesday to announce that property owner James Vanderwoude has agreed to rent the site out for the rumble at a rate of $500 per day.

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Town employees to see an increase in base salaries.

Little changed in the Town of Franklin’s annual budget at last Tuesday’s budget workshop, held by town officials.

In a handout of the 2012-13 fiscal year’s proposed budget, Town Manager Sam Greenwood noted that this year’s budget “continues to reflect the effects of the most disordered economic conditions in memory.”

Greenwood added in the document that attempts at economic forecasts on the state and federal levels were “little better than guessing,” and cautioned about the prospect of weak economic recovery.

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Plans are to purchase property at new Wal-mart.

Town of Franklin Board of Aldermen met in a special called meeting on May 21 to discuss contract negotiations to purchase a building in the new Wal-Mart Supercenter location in order to relocate the town's ABC store.

Mayor Joe Collins and Alderman Bob Scott voiced concerns on whether the town should move forward and buy the new store at a cost of $1.25 million. Currently, town attorney John Henning Jr. is working out contract negotiations with the Tennessee-based company, Meyers Franklin Associates, LP in order to outline a preliminary offer to purchase the property.

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