Letter from the Mayor

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

I want to update you on a number of matters pertaining to the Town Council.

Reception:

Thursday, December 14, 5:30-6:30PM to thank Mary Standaert and Ann Vinson for their service to the Town and to welcome Alice Lentz, Kent Otto, and Tom Widmer who will be sworn into office at the Town Council Meeting at 7:00PM. The regular Open Forum will still take place at 6:30PM that evening. I hope you will join us at the Walkup Building.

Florida Terrace Property:

The property has been rezoned to residential, and the three non-conforming lots will be reconfigured into two buildable lots that will be put on the real estate market in the near future.

Texas Road Bridge:

The Town Council is awaiting final action by the NC Department of Transportation that will allow the bridge to be converted to a walking bridge.

Taxes:

Even though Buncombe County completed a property reevaluation, Montreat held the line on our tax rate.

Parking:

Parking is often a challenge since Montreat College has increased enrollment and the Montreat Conference Center has increased year-around participation in group events. We are grateful for the success of both institutions, and the Town is working toward meaningful solutions for the parking situation.

De-annexation/Annexation of the new Town Hall site:

The Town of Montreat Administration is working with the Town of Black Mountain to annex the property just outside the Gate that will become the site of the new Town Hall. Purchase of the property from MRA is in the final stages. The Town Council will be working on a plan for a new Town Hall that will reflect the size and architecture of our community.

Ordinances and Regulations:

Many of you have provided input that suggests that some of Montreat’s ordinances and regulations may be too restrictive. The Town Council will review current ordinances and regulations to determine what changes can be made to make building and remodeling an easier process.

Open Forum:

The community is welcome to interact with commissioners from 6:30PM to 7:00PM immediately before each regular Town Council meeting. This Public Forum has been a productive time that has enhanced communication.

Post Office Bulletin Board:

The bulletin board has been an effective communication tool that provides updated information about Town Council activities, thanks to Angie Murphy, our Town Clerk.

Public Works Building:

Plans are underway to build a facility that will allow the Public Works Department to protect its heavy equipment from the weather and also to provide a place for people fighting fires, removing snow, etc. to stay overnight as needed. The building will be located behind the current MRA maintenance facility.

Personnel:

Following the retirements of Jack Staggs (Police Chief), Steve Freeman (Public Works Director), Stefan Stackhouse (Finance Officer), and the resignation of David Currie (Building Inspector/Code Administrator), the Council took advantage of the opportunity to reevaluate personnel appointments for efficiency and possible savings of taxpayer dollars.

David Arrant was promoted to Police Chief after serving Montreat for 12 years. Barry Creasman was promoted to Public Works Director after 19 years in that department. Jared McIntosh has been hired for the vacated position of Senior Water Operator. CPA Erin Marie Wheeler is now our part-time Finance Officer. Presently, building inspections are being done on a contract basis. We are now sharing a Zoning Official, Adrienne Isenhower, with Biltmore Forest and Land of Sky Regional Council to cover our zoning and code enforcement responsibilities. Alex Carmichael is completing his first year as Town Administrator. He has kept a steady hand and level head through an eventful first year. Angie Murphy is our Town Clerk, and we recognize her as Clerk Extraordinaire.

Congratulations:

The Town of Montreat has been named a Tree City USA and again been awarded the title of Community Wildlife Habitat for the 12th year. The Tree Board has been selected as a recipient of a $4,994 grant from the North Carolina Forest Service. The “Save Our Hemlocks” campaign by Montreat Landcare was a big success, thanks to your generosity.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year,

Tim Helms, Mayor

Town of Montreat

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