I had hoped we could do a hybrid Town Board meeting last Thursday night. The plan was to ZOOM the meeting and conduct an in-person meeting following standard COVID-19 protocols.
There were technical glitches that I had not anticipated. I take responsibility for not foreseeing the problems. At our October meeting adjustments will be made. Either we will do a ZOOM-only format or return to an in-person format without ZOOM.
Town staff have recently installed a fixed camera at the Highlands Conference Center that might be used in streaming the meeting on the town website. Several test runs will be done before a final decision.
The September meeting was rather long. Let me provide a several updates.
First, the Town Board voted to reject the five bids companies submitted for the operation of the broadband network. Each bid submitted had some incomplete information that made them incomplete bids.
For an initial bidding cycle, state law requires there to be three complete bids before the best bid can be accepted. The lack of three complete bids necessitated the rebidding of the project. The board approved the issuing of a new RFP with additional clarifications. The original bidders have been sent the new RFP.
This second bid cycle will be for 30 days and all five bidders can resubmit their bids with updated information. New bidders can also submit. After the end of this second bid cycle, the board can consider any complete bid.
Second, I gave updates on several road projects that DOT has on their short list. These projects are contingent on state funds being released in the coming weeks. They could continue to remain on hold if this funding is delayed.
The resurfacing of Main Street is scheduled for this spring. There are several phases. First, in late March the existing asphalt on Main Street will be milled down by an inch and a half. Vehicles will be able to use the street afterward, albeit a rougher ride.
Sometime in April when 60-degree days return, the repaving of road will begin. The goal is to have Main Street completed and re-striped before the new season. The original plan called for the road to be resurfaced only to 4th Street.
This new contract will extent the new paving all the way to the Mountain Fresh area. The other phases involve paving US 64 from Main Street out to Buck Creek.
NC 28 from Main Street to Clear Creek will also be repaved. Our town engineer is in ongoing discussions with DOT engineers about how the intersection at NC 28, South Street and Satulah can be improved.
These two highway projects will get underway after Main Street is completed. Both will continue into the summer.
Expect traffic delays coming into and leaving Highlands during this period. Recently there was a meeting with DOT officials about the possible paving of Big Bear Pen from Upper Lake down to Chestnut. Discussions are in the preliminary stage.
- Town of Highlands Mayor Pat Taylor