Patrick Taylor – Highlands Mayor
I’m anxiously waiting for a winter storm to hit, although I hope it doesn’t. These storms almost invariably cause road problems and power outages. Since Highlands is situated at 4119 feet above sea level, not having the disruption of a winter storm would not be normal.
In the event we do have a winter storm and lose power, I hope everyone will be patient. Our crews are on standby in these situations and respond immediately. If power goes out during a regular business day, the outage can be reported at town hall at 526-2118. If lines are repeatedly busy, chances are many people are calling to report the same problem. If a power outage occurs in the evening or on weekends, please do not call 911. This emergency line can be overwhelmed with these nonemergency calls. To report an outage after hours please call 526-9431, the nonemergency number.
Another problem in a winter storm scenario is the plowing of roads. Town road crews are also on standby in these situations. Their first priority is to plow all town roads including neighborhood streets. After clearing town roads, our crews may assist the state in plowing state roads. Our crews will also assist in plowing private roads as time becomes available. They do not plow driveways, including the mayor’s and town commissioners’ driveways.
The North Carolina road system is confusing. What is a state road and what is a town road? Our staff has a map that identifies state and town roads in our main office and on the town website. Drop by, call or go on line if you are unsure whether your road is state or town maintained. Or, look on the street sign. A street sign with a number on its post, or on the sign itself, indicates that road is maintained by the state. If the state road does not get plowed, call the NCDOT office for Macon County at (828) 524-2517.
I announced at the board meeting last week that the Mission/HCA Healthcare Monitor will be holding a public meeting here in Highlands on Wednesday, Jan. 29 at the Highlands Recreation Center, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. For those that can’t make this meeting, the monitors will also be at the Cashiers/Glenville Recreation Center on Jan. 28 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Both meetings will focus on services at the Highlands/Cashiers Hospital.
Under the terms of the sales agreement of Mission to HCA, the NC Attorney General required that an independent monitor be hired to track progress and services after the sale was complete. The monitor reports their findings to Attorney General Josh Stein. These meetings are a part of the first of such meetings being held throughout Western North Carolina. The independent monitor, Gibbins Advisors, will be soliciting public feedback and input, so please attend one of these meetings.