Tonight, is the October meeting of the Highlands Town Board. It will begin at 7 p.m. by way of ZOOM.
I had hoped the meeting could be in person, but technical problems and the ongoing virus concern makes ZOOM the best and safest option. The ZOOM information can be found on the town website.
Public comments and public hearing statements will still be made by way of ZOOM, or by sending them to me in advance at Mayor@highlandsnc.org.
We have a full agenda for tonight’s meeting. There will be a public hearing concerning the town applying for a loan to build the new fire station. This hearing is requirement of the North Carolina Local Government Commission who will review and approve the loan application. The loan will be paid back from fire tax revenues.
The board will also revisit the request for water and sewer for the proposed Highlands-Cashiers Hospital Workforce Housing Project.
A committee of commissioners recently met with hospital officials concerning the request. This committee will give a report and a recommendation to the full board before a decision is made.
The board will also revisit a town employee cost of living adjustment. In July, as the pandemic was in full swing, the board delayed including a COLA in the budget, with the understanding that is would be revisited toward the end of the year.
Our administrative staff now have a clearer picture of the financial situation. I believe it is time to make this adjustment at this midpoint in the year. Town employees have been steadfast in doing their duties during this critical period.
The board will also review a proposed bear ordinance that prohibits the feeding of bears. Also, it is time to review the moratorium that was placed on requiring bear-resistant toters.
This moratorium was instituted in August because of a back-order issue. I believe it is time to move forward with this requirement. I appreciate the vast majority of residents who have already purchased these toters.
Early voting at the Highlands Recreation Center got underway this morning. It will run through Oct. 31. Any questions should be directed to the Macon County Board of Elections. Their number is 828.349.2034.
On Thursday, Oct. 22, there will be a public input meeting that is being orchestrated by the Highlands Community Plan staff. The meeting is open to the public and starts at 5 p.m. at the Highlands Community Center.
This session is an opportunity for residents to share their views about their vision for the future of Highlands. I will not be at the meeting because it is a citizens meeting, not an elected-officials meeting. For further information about this meeting and the comprehensive plan, please visit: www.highlandscommunityplan.com/get-involved.
I like the last part of the website address, “get-involved.” In order to have a truly representative community plan, I hope all Highlanders will participate in the process. This meeting is just the beginning.
- Town of Highlands Mayor Pat Taylor