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Haywood County’s high-performing public schools will see a small budget increase for the FY 2018-19 school year, but at the same time takes care of some critical needs, including teacher supplement pay that helps attract and retain the best instructors. 

President Donald Trump’s proposed budget calls on Congress to fund the overdue remaining balance of $39.2 million owed to Swain County from the North Shore Road settlement agreement made with the federal government back in 2010. 

Drawing more than 300 million visitors each year, the National Park Service is both a reservoir of natural beauty and an economic anchor for the communities surrounding its lands — and many of those communities are now banding together to demand that Congress address the parks’ $11.3 billion maintenance backlog.

“To know what this means to us — the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park — and for us to have to ask them for some sustainable revenue to keep these parks going, it’s almost like asking somebody to take care of their baby,” Jackson County Commissioner Boyce Dietz said before the board unanimously passed a resolution in favor of sustained funding Dec. 18, 2017.

The Sylva pool saw $100,000 in repairs before opening this summer, but more work is on the way to get the facility up to snuff for the years to come.

Rising construction costs are causing problems for Jackson County Schools as it attempts to complete $9 million of much-needed capital upgrades. With projects out for bid and work underway, estimates are showing that it will cost 25 percent more than expected — $2.22 million — to carry out the original construction plan.

The Jackson County Board of Elections’ attempt to exert a new level of independence from the county commissioners resulted in an hour-long — and, at times, contentious — meeting between the two boards July 11.

In each year’s budget, the Town of Waynesville makes discretionary special appropriations contributions to a plethora of local nonprofits that help support everything from festivals to food for seniors.

Leaders in both the North Carolina House and Senate have reached consensus on a $23 billion fiscal year 2017-18 budget June 19.

Any local, state and federal budget typically includes what is technically called discretionary spending but is commonly known as “pork.”

Assuming a legislative override of Gov. Roy Cooper’s budget veto — which happened as The Smoky Mountain News went to press June 27 — North Carolinians could be in for a slew of tax cuts that will save state residents by one estimate more than $530 million over two years when they take effect in 2019.

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Reading Room

  • Books that help bridge the political divide
    Books that help bridge the political divide Time for spring-cleaning.  The basement apartment in which I live could use a deep cleaning: dusting, washing, vacuuming. It’s tidy enough — chaos and I were never friends — but stacks of papers need sorting, bookcases beg to see their occupants removed and the shelves…
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