Patrick Taylor – Highlands Mayor
A major COVID challenge facing our community is how to protect and manage first responders and personnel that continuously interact with the public. County and municipal officials are doing everything possible to keep employees healthy so they can serve the public.
We can all do our part to contain the spread. Wearing masks, washing hands, and maintaining social distancing are the most effective practices.
Getting a flu shot as we move into fall and winter is another way to alleviate a potential compounding of the problem. The county is currently working on a plan to have ample sites for folks to get the flu shot.
I have been gratified to see so many people wearing masks on our commercial sidewalks and businesses. I am receiving positive feedback that our visitors feel comfortable coming to Highlands because we are a community that practices the basic COVID-19 protocols.
The town board postponed implementation of the requirement for residential bear resistant garbage toters. There has been a backlog in ordering the toters. In the coming weeks I expect the board to direct staff to implement the policy. As I travel through town I am glad to see residences with the bear resistant toters. Many people have painted their street number, or some other identification, on their toters. Marking a toter helps deter possible theft.
On the other hand, some folks still continue to follow unacceptable garbage practices. I noticed one 45 gallon can on the roadside filled with loose garbage that was not bagged. I still see a few trash bags placed for pickup on the roadside. These practices are no longer permitted. We all need to be good stewards in disposing our garbage responsibly.
We are approaching the Sept. 30 deadline to respond to the 2020 Census. If you have not done so, please go to My2020Census.gov, or call (844) 330-2020, to file a response. Provided North Carolina has a full census count, a new 14th seat in Congress could be created. For each person who does not respond, the state stands to lose over the decade between $16,000 to $18,000 in federal dollars.
Starting on Sunday afternoon NCDOT will be replacing a drain pipe across NC 106 just below Tate Landscaping and the Mountain. There will be a detour, but expect delays. The plan is for the work to go through the night and the repaving to be completed sometime Monday morning. NCDOT did a similar project a couple of years ago on US 64 between Cashiers and Highlands. Macon County office of DOT can answer any questions at (828) 524-2517.
Town hall staff are receiving numerous calls about voting. Those questions are best answered by calling the Macon County Board of Elections at (828) 349-2034. Also, the board has a website that can be accessed by entering Macon County Board of Elections on a web browser. Early voting at the Highlands Recreation Center begins on the third Thursday prior to the Nov. 3 Election Day.