Letter from the Mayor

Greetings friends.

I was reflecting on Thursday evening’s Town Council meeting where the agenda was full and many good things were discussed and acted upon. I thought it might be good to begin a new practice with you since you’re an integral part of the Montreat community. After each meeting, I’ll summarize some of the key discussion and action points to keep everyone informed about what’s happening. So, here’s my first installment…

  • We had the honor of presenting Billy and Ruth Graham’s daughter, Virginia “Gigi” Graham with a resolutionhonoring her father for his many accomplishments and being a beloved member of the Montreat community. To see the resolution, CLICK HERE
  • Town Administrator, Alex Carmichael, shared that Dr. Graham’s passing had an impact on Town staff in terms of traffic control, fielding questions, interacting with the media and participating in traffic control for the motorcade from the Cove to Charlotte. We’re grateful to the staff for their dedication.
  • Alex also shared that all the legal steps for the Texas Road bridge conversion to a pedestrian bridge have nearly been completed. This means we will be able to begin planning and renovating the bridge for our walking pleasure. In fact, a Bridge Aesthetics Committee was formed to plan the renovations. We appreciate residents who volunteered to form the committee, including Jane Alexander, Walter Somerville, Robin Melvin, Mason Blake, Shannon Ingersoll, Randi Collie and Bob Wynne. Kent Otto will be the Town Commissioner representative to the committee. We have no time line yet for the improvements, but we’ll keep you informed.
  • Alex provided several other important updates including:
    • The Florida Terrace properties are “officially” on the market through a bidding process. Bids will be opened April 4
    • The public works building project is moving forward.  We will be preparing construction bid documents soon for the metal building that will be located behind the MRA maintenance building near the current Town Hall
  • Speaking of Alex, he celebrated his first anniversary as Town Administrator last month. The Council had an opportunity to sit down with him recently to discuss his first year. We’re very pleased and thankful for his contributions and grateful he is head of our Town staff. Stop by the Town offices to meet him if you haven’t already.
  • The new Town Hall project is proceeding well. Here are several highlights:
    • Montreat and Black Mountain jointly submitted a request to the State Legislature to de-annex the property from Black Mountain and annex it to Montreat so it will be within town boundaries. We have state senators and representatives that have agreed to sponsor the bills, which will likely be taken up during the May session. This situation does not affect our ability to begin the project.
    • The building on the property will be demolished by the Black Mountain Fire Department. They will use the opportunity for a fire training exercise through a series of controlled “burns”. We don’t have a date yet, but we’ll let you know so you can come and celebrate this “first step”.
  • The Council voted to eliminate the Agenda meeting that used to occur on the first Thursday of the month. In discussing it, the Council felt it wasn’t the best use of time and money since staff attends the Agenda meetings and we have to rent the room from MRA. The new procedure will be that the proposed agenda for the Council meeting will be published and available a week prior to the Council meeting (which will remain on the second Thursday of the month), giving residents and Commissioners adequate time to review and ask questions about the agenda prior to the meeting.
  •  The Council also voted to form a Communications Advisory Committee for the Town. The purpose of the committee is to advise Town Council on effectively communicating with Town residents, seasonal residents, students, guests and others. This will be an opportunity to improve communications and help build unity within our special community.  In fact, as part of the improved communications effort, we voted to begin giving our website a significant “face lift”. Commissioner Tom Widmer will be the representative to this committee.
  • Our Town is highly dependent upon citizen involvement—at meetings and especially on committees and boards. We’re fortunate to have such willing people volunteering. Besides the Bridge Aesthetics Committee, other residents appointed include Katie Widmer (Landcare), Mason Blake (Planning & Zoning), Mark Spence (Board of Adjustment) and Bill Scheu (Open Space Conservation). We’re most grateful for their time and talents.
  • Finally, interested in buying a 1983 Ford Bronco, a dump truck or other surplus items? Occasionally the Town has old unused equipment that it wants to dispose of and we have a few pieces now that we are selling through an electronic bid process. If interested, visit www.govdeals.com and search by zip code.

Thanks for your time and let me know how you like this new communication tool.  Write me at thelms@townofmontreat.org or call me at 828/669-3852. I’d love to hear from you.

Thanks for your trust in us,

Mayor Tim Helms on behalf of the Town Council

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