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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.


Group seeks to support town’s remaining festivals.

With fewer festivals on the calendar for Franklin this summer, the Tourism Development Authority (TDA) made it a point to ensure adequate support was provided for the ones that are scheduled.

Between two different grant requests, the TDA approved $2,530 to support the Taste of Scotland festival set for Father's Day weekend, June 19-21.

"I think with the Taste of Scotland being one of the only festivals we have scheduled this summer, we need to be sure and support it," said board member Matt Bateman.


Manager presents budget message to Town Board

The town of Franklin took the first of many steps needed to pass the 2015-16 fiscal year budget on Monday night when town manager Summer Woodard presented a budget proposal to the board of aldermen.

"The town of Franklin remains in sound financial condition," opens Woodard's budget message. "This budget addresses the need for long term financial, infrastructure and strategic planning for the town of Franklin. The town continues to experience slow growth in revenue sources, especially water and sewer revenue. All departments in general government were able to reduce their budgets by five percent. It is crucial that expenditures do not exceed revenues. The town should stabilize and build its fund balance. Fund balance is key to long term financial planning."


Affordable ‘garden flats’ to be certified energy efficient.

As part of the town of Franklin's Principals of Growth priority to create more affordable housing within the town, the Franklin Board of Aldermen unanimously approved a Special Use Permit for a 60-unit housing complex along Siler Road on Monday night.

Jim Yamin with Workforce Homestead Inc, the firm responsible for the housing unit outlined plans for the property in full details to aldermen on Monday night. The 60-unit affordable housing complex is proposed on five acres of land currently owned by James Vanderwoude along Siler Road.


When Macon County Commissioner Ronnie Beale was elected president of the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners (NCACC) he made it his mission to make people in the eastern part of the state aware of where Macon County was located on a map.

Last August, he made huge progress toward that goal when around 100 county commissioners took a tour through Macon County, getting an idea of the landscape. Last week, he brought his goal full circle as he made history by being the first President of the association to hold a meeting as far west as Macon County since the association was started in 1908.


An arrest has been made more than two months after the Kmart building in Franklin was evacuated due to a fire.

Michael Scott, 18, of Franklin, was arrested at the Macon County Courthouse without incident on Monday, April 27. He was charged with felony burning certain building, and was given a $1,000 secured bond by Macon County Magistrate Erin Moorman.

"The Franklin Police Department has worked closely with the State Bureau of Investigation, the county fire marshal, and the Kmart Loss Prevention staff to complete a thorough investigation into the fire that occurred in February," said Franklin Police Chief David Adams.

On February 14, emergency personnel responded to a report of a fire in the upstairs storage room at Kmart located in the Westgate Plaza. After the fire was extinguished, Arson Investigator Farrell Jamison deemed the fire to be suspicious, as no electrical sources existed in the storage room other than an overhead light.


Since 2010, bow hunters have been allowed to hunt on Sundays on private land. Falconry has also been allowed on Sundays on both private and public lands, but a debate in the North Carolina legislator may soon open the doors to allow for all types of hunting on private lands on Sundays.

If North Carolina were to pass either Senate Bill 658, or House Bill 640, the state would join 39 other states in the country that allow hunting on Sundays. Both pieces of proposed legislation would only allow Sunday hunting on private property.

Commissioner Paul Higdon brought the legislation to the attention of the board of commissioners last week and asked that the board take a stance opposing the measure. In a 4-1 vote, the board of commissioners decided to send a letter to Senator Jim Davis and Representative Roger West voicing their opposition of the bill to allow hunting on Sundays. Commissioner Jim Tate was the lone nay vote, and said he did so because growing up, he would often hunt in Georgia with his family on Sundays and supported the practice.


A state loan weighing in just shy of $3 million is one step closer to being secured for Macon County Schools. Tuesday night, County Manager Derek Roland informed the board of commissioners that the $2.9 million QZAB (Qualified Zone Academy Bonds) loan needed to repair Union Academy and Highlands School is moving forward.

After concerns surrounding collateral for the loan and the required in-kind match, Roland informed the board that those issues were resolved and the project is moving forward. Commissioners voted to send the QZAB application on to the Local Government Commission for consideration.


Just days after bringing a child into the world, you strap them up and put them in a car seat for the journey home. Whether it is your first child or your fifth, making sure you are up-to-date and educated an proper car seat safety will be one of the first responsibilities you have to your newborn.

Each year thousands of young children are killed or injured in car accidents. According to the Center for Disease Control, more than 650 children ages 12 years and younger died as occupants in motor vehicle crashes, and more than 148,000 were injured in 2011.


Last week, in honor of National Public Health Week, the Macon County Board of Commissioners signed a resolution proclaiming April as Public Health Month in Macon County.

The resolution, which was presented to the board by the health department, encourages families in the community to get active. "We call upon the people of Macon County, NC to observe this by helping our families, friends, neighbors, co-workers and leaders better understand the value of public health and adopt preventive lifestyles habits in light of this year's theme, "Public Health: Start Here.""


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