What’s new on the plateau

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Patrick Taylor – Highlands Mayor

Saturday is the annual Highlands Plateau Cleanup.  Volunteers will be picking up litter on the Gorge Road, NC 28 and NC 106 and US 64 between Highlands and Cashiers.  I also encourage folks to pickup on any streets or neighborhoods in town.

Volunteers will meet at Founders Park at 8:30 for a light breakfast and to get equipment and instructions before hitting the road around 9.  Please be sure to call the Highlands Chamber of Commerce at 526-2112 and let them know you will be volunteering.  That call helps the staff develop plans and assignments. 

Volunteers will return to the park at noon to enjoy a picnic lunch.  It is always a good time for community fellowship and to celebrate the collection of massive amounts of litter.

If someone wants to avoid the highways and simply collect litter around town, there will be two options.  First, folks can bring bags of trash to the Highlands Conference Center next to the ball field and deposit them in a large dumpster, or they can bring the bags to Founders Park where there will be another large dumpster on Pine Street.  Also, if bags of litter are left on the side of the road, please give me a call at (828) 506-3138, and I will come out with my truck to collect the bags.   Last year I drove all the way to the Jackson County line collecting bags.

Everyone is encouraged to participate at this pre Earth Day event. The cleanup is a great way to celebrate Monday’s official Earth Day.

Tonight is the April Highlands Town Board meeting at the Highlands Conference Center next to the ball field. It starts at 7 with public comment.

The board will review proposed changes to the leash ordinance.  At the last meeting I proposed extending the leash requirement to all residential areas. My proposal also permitted dogs to be off leash so long as owners had their animal under voice command control.  The public safety committee and staff have developed a new proposal that I believe addresses safety concerns and is not too restrictive.

The first town budget workshop was held last Thursday.  The town manager presented a list of capital needs that were over 3.4 million dollars.  Some items were printed in red indicating they are subject to not being funded this year if there are budget constraints. Topping this red list were several road projects that could be postponed another year.  By comparison other road  projects, such as a section of Cullasaja Road, can’t be delayed. The heavy rains this year  have pretty much washed large sections of paving away. 

Another priority costing $200,000 will be the retrofitting of the second water filter at the water plant. The first filter is currently off line being rebuilt.  While the second filter is functioning properly now, the concern is that it will begin to fail in the coming months if the work is not done.

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