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All nine of the School Resource Officers (SROs) on the Macon County payroll are required to wear multiple hats throughout the year. When school is out for summer, Christmas, or spring break, Sheriff Robert Holland utilizes the county’s SROs to fill in gaps throughout his department. Since school is not in session year round, the SROs transition to other roles within the Macon County Sheriff’s Office during off months and remain full time employees of the county.

But soon that stipulation may not apply to all SROs in the county.


Revaluation and tax increases a game changer.

The town of Franklin approved its 2015-16 budget Monday, which includes a one percent tax increase for town residents. In addition to the tax increase, the town of Franklin also approved a 5 percent water and sewer rate increase, and pending county approval, potentially approved a 9/10 of a cent fire tax increase for homes within the service area of Franklin Fire & Rescue. Those increases, paired with an increase on the county end in order to maintain a revenue neutral budget in the coming fiscal year, may cause some sticker shock for town residents.

Town of Franklin one cent tax increase

On the town level, a homeowner with an assessed property value of $75,000 will go from paying $202.50 in 2014 with a tax rate of .27, to paying $210 in 2015 with the tax rate of .28, an increase of $7.50.


Macon County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to a 911 call shortly after 5:30 a.m. Thursday, June 4, involving a gun shot fired near South Macon Elementary School this morning. Deputies responding to the call and found two armed suspects on the school’s campus. One of the suspects pulled a gun on the deputy, at which point the suspect was tased. The second suspect was also tased.

The suspects were identified as Adam Warren Conley, 38, and Kathryn Jetter, 29, both of Franklin. Both suspects were arrested and transported to the Macon County Detention Center.

Both Jetter and Conley, who according to Sheriff Robert Holland, are well known by law enforcement officers, are currently awaiting interviews at the detention center and have not yet been charged.


With an ordinance as the only roadblock, Jeff Wang, owner of Jeff’s Ammo & Arms, petitioned to the town Monday night to consider a formal request to construct and operate an indoor shooting range at 245 Carolina Mountain Drive.

According to town attorney John Henning Jr., Franklin has an ordinance that would prevent such a business from operating. According to the ordinance, it is unlawful to shoot a gun inside the city limits. Although Franklin’s ordinance resembles other ordinances from across the state, Franklin’s does not have an exception for commercial use, like at a shooting range, as some municipalities have.

“There is the problem that it is unlawful to discharge a firearm in the city limits of Franklin unless you're an officer of the law,” said Henning.


Building the county’s financial stability while facing uncertain legislative challenges seems to be the common theme throughout the 2015-16 budget planning process. County Manager Derek Roland presented commissioners with a $46.6 million budget last Thursday night, and in a two and a half hour work session on Tuesday, commissioners hashed out the details.

The budget was proposed at $46,646,357, with balanced revenues and expenditures. The proposed budget, while less than the 2013-14 levels, exhibits an increase over the current fiscal year.


Macon to get $50,000 to help with provided services.

A debate initiated by Macon County Commissioner Jim Tate last year has finally seen some resolution, even if it isn’t quite the solution Macon County had hoped for. Last Thursday, the Jackson County Board of Commissioners unanimously voted to establish a “Highlands” fire district for homes located along the Macon/Jackson border. The fire district, which includes more than 300 homes, will require property owners to pay just shy of a penny fire tax to generate $50,000 requested by the Highlands Fire Department.

Commissioner Tate brought the issue to the Macon County board, which after an in depth study showed that Macon County taxpayers pay about $160,000 a year to provide service to the 332 homes on the border, which are actually within Jackson County borders.


During its annual budget retreat, the town of Franklin presented a budget reflecting a one cent tax increase for the coming year.

Due to the property tax revaluation in Macon County this year, the town's property value declined by $7,281,676 in assessed value, equating to a 1.014 percent reduction. Factoring in the new tax base, the town would need to increase the current tax rate of .27 to .2727 to maintain a revenue neutral budget.

Since 2007, the town of Franklin's tax base has grown on average by 2.07 percent. In applying a growth factor to the town's current tax rate of .2727, to produce a revenue neutral tax rate, the town would need to increase the rate to .2784 cents per $100 valuation.


Administration of drug could save lives from overdose.

In 2013, 40,000 overdoses occurred in North Carolina, 1,000 of which were accounted for in Macon County resulting in six deaths. That number may soon decrease as the North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition is working to distribute naloxone or Narcan, to law enforcement and other interested agencies across the state.

Robert Childs, head of the NC Harm Reduction Coalition, spoke to law enforcement, emergency personnel and other organization Monday morning about naloxone, a drug that dramatically reverses the effects of opiates. The drug that is available to the public comes in three forms: a needle to be filled with the medication, a preloaded component, or a nasal spray.


Macon County Commissioners got an in depth look into the school system's proposed budget last Thursday when the Board of Education and the Board of Commissioners convened in a joint meeting at Iotla Valley Elementary.

Macon County School Superintendent Dr. Chris Baldwin presented county leaders with a line item budget, highlighting financial concerns of the school district's local budget.

Based on historical information presented by Baldwin, since the 2011-12 school year, budgetary items within the school district have been reduced by $1,317,689. Budget line items such as athletics were reduced by $70,351, while others, such as technology, were reduced by $243,315.


State boasts $400 million surplus at Raleigh meeting.

While addressing hundreds of North Carolina county leaders for the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners County Assembly Day, Governor Pat McCrory announced that this fiscal year, the state government expects to tally $400 million surplus. Previous consensus budget forecasts predicted a revenue shortfall of $271 million for the fiscal year.

According to Gov. McCrory, the surplus can be attributed to a 2013 tax law change that lowered income tax rates, narrowed deductions, and slightly expanded the sales tax base. Sales tax revenue has increased this year as well. Earlier this month, it was announced that the state has paid off a $2.8 billion unemployment insurance debt to the federal government.


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