Mayor on Duty

Tonight’s town board meeting is kind of a wrap up meeting here at the end of the year. At the December meeting newly elected town board members will be sworn in, and new business will be initiated. 

The meeting tonight will begin at 7 p.m. at the Highlands Community Center.  Several agenda items that have been in development for several months will be presented.

First on the agenda is a presentation by Cassie Wilson of Martin Starnes & Associates. She will present to the board the annual Auditors Report for FY 2018/19. Each year this accounting firm does an audit of all town finances. The audit takes several months to complete.  Tonight’s presentation highlights the findings of their report. Their audit has also been reviewed by the North Carolina Local Government Commission.

Rose Bauguess of the Southwestern Commission will also give an update on the Macon County Comprehensive Transportation Plan. Michael Mathis, our assistant planner, and I have been attending meetings in the past months as this plan has been developed.

The board will also review a final subdivision plat and review procedures for the sale of the old water tank property on Satulah. Since the new water tank is currently in operation, the town has no need to retain this property. Our town manager, Josh Ward, will also present proposed revisions to the Highlands Employee Personnel Manual. The revisions have been in committee development for quite some time and now require board approval.

On the agenda is a presentation by Chief Ryan Gearhart for the preliminary plans of the new fire station facility. The public safety committee, the chief, staff and members of the fire department have all worked together to develop this initial design. Randy Baker of Pinnacle Architecture will be at the presentation to answer questions.  Pinnacle Architecture specializes in designing municipal fire stations.

The next step will be for the board to give the go ahead to move to the final design phase. The planning board will also conduct a review during this phase. The goal is to have the project ready for bid as soon as possible. After the bidding process is complete, the Local Government Commission will weigh in and give their approval before loan financing and construction can get underway. At some point in the spring the actual construction could begin.

In a related matter, soil borings were recently completed on the site of the new fire station. The good news is that no significant rock formations were discovered. The caveat is that hidden rock on a Highlands construction site can always magically appear as work begins. We will keep our fingers crossed.

I also want to thank the Highlands Chamber of Commerce for presenting the Town of Highlands the Del Roberts Award at the recent Autumn Ovation Ceremony.   The Town was recognized for their support of all the community initiatives and events that are sponsored by the Highlands Chamber. The Town and I look forward to an ongoing partnership with the Highlands Chamber.

  • Town of Highlands Mayor Pat Taylor

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