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New Mayors of WNC: Joe Slaton of Hayesville

Courtesy of Joe Slaton
After years on the Hayesville Town Council, Joe Slaton is the new mayor.

Mayor Joe Slaton spoke with BPR’s Lilly Knoepp about his plans to improve tourism, housing and bike access in Hayesville.

"We're working on a pedestrian and bike lane, a trail that would connect the assets that we have in town," said Slaton.

Slaton ran unopposed to win the position of mayor with just 21 votes - 91 percent of the total votes cast.  Sixty-three people voted in the town council election. Hayesville is in Clay County. 

Slaton was previously on the town council for 5 years. He says he has a tough first job ahead -  he needs to find a replacement for the beloved town clerk and finance officer, Susan Morgan. Morgan unexpectedly passed away at the end of November.

"She was the first person you see in town hall, she was the greeter and she was very friendly," said Slaton. 

As town council member, Slaton said he learned a lot how the town is run. 

Earlier this year, the Town Council offered all residents who were vaccinated against COVID-19 a check for $100. They had given out over 100 checks by the time the program ended in December. Now the program has been re-upped to include children through February 1st. According to the most updated numbers from NC DHHS, 45 percent of the county has been vaccinated. 

"We put a time limit just to encourage people. If you got vaccinated last February or a year ago then you are eligible for the $100," said Slaton. 

Lilly Knoepp is Senior Regional Reporter for Blue Ridge Public Radio. She has served as BPR’s first fulltime reporter covering Western North Carolina since 2018. She is from Franklin, NC. She returns to WNC after serving as the assistant editor of Women@Forbes and digital producer of the Forbes podcast network. She holds a master’s degree in international journalism from the City University of New York and earned a double major from UNC-Chapel Hill in religious studies and political science.
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