Patrick Taylor – Highlands Mayor
It was a good weekend for me, and I suspect for many Highlanders. At this beginning of summer we finally got a break from the cloudy days.
I have been visiting the downtown and merchants on Saturday morning since the beginning of Phase 2. At my first visits I met with merchants who were very cautious and concerned about sales versus Covid 19 protocols.
This past Saturday I noticed the business folks were more upbeat. While every Main Street merchant I talk with always wants and thinks they should have more business, I got the impression that folks were optimistic that Highlands was now making a comeback. As I walked around Main Street and 4th at about 10:30 I would look into the stores and see merchants busily getting ready for customers. I loved it, what a major change from the gloom and doom of March, April and most of May.
Let’s hope Governor Cooper sees good numbers on Friday and moves the state into a full Phase 3. While I am optimistic, it is no time to let our guards down. This damn COVID 19 could be with us for a long time.
Some folks believe Governor Cooper may institute across the state a mandatory mask or face covering requirement while inside public spaces. If he does, I will be supportive. In Macon County and Highlands we need to do everything possible to stop the spread and create, as much as possible, a safe environment for our residents and visitors. That efffort will be a win for all of us, especially our business community.
I also want to congratulate and give my full support for our new police chief, Andrea Holland. She garnered unanimous support from all who were involved in the search for the new chief. At her swearing in ceremony representatives from the highway patrol, sheriff’s department and the district attorney were present to show their support. Chief Holland has the diverse experience, training, and education to make her an outstanding police chief. But more than all those accomplishments, Andrea has a deep commitment to this town and county that will be so important for her leadership and success.
At the town board meeting last Thursday night, I urged everyone to respond to the U.S. Census. Macon County and Highlands currently have very low response rates. If we have an undercount in the census, it will hurt our financial, and yes, our political position. State and federal funding are driven by census numbers. I urge permanent residents to please make sure they respond to the census. There are three ways to respond. Go to 2020Census.gov and file, or call (844) 330-2020 for the telephone option. Finally, there is the old mail in option. Many of us will see a census packet on our door knobs that a census worker has delivered. Simply fill out the form and put it in the mail. The important thing is that every resident and all households respond.