Mayor’s Summary of the September 13 Town Council Meeting

Greetings fellow Montreaters,


It was a rainy evening and folks were probably preparing for the upcoming Florence storm, but hearty souls came out for the Council meeting. We’re grateful for the support of everyone.


Here are the highlights of the meeting:

  • Public Forum questions/comments included:
    • After a question about the upcoming hurricane, Alex provided an overview of what we know now, but with a caveat that its status changes almost hourly:
      • The system seems to be weakening in force and speed. That means winds are decreasing, but due to the slowing speed, rain will be heavy starting Saturday and continuing through Monday.
      • We can expect power outages in the area
    • But much has been done in preparation:
      • Town staff has been cleaning culverts, ditches and other places where we can expect heavy water movement
      • Town staff has been removing dead trees
      • MRA staff have been reducing the water level in Lake Susan daily since Tuesday (go to the Town website to watch the video)
      • Greybeard Trail will be closed for the storm from Assembly Circle up to West Virginia Terrace (watch for Detour signs) because that section of Greybeard is very unstable from the May flooding
      • Public Works and extra Police staff will be working through the storm
      • Town staff is posting storm updates on the Town website. So check it out for the latest news, preparation suggestions, and other resources
  • The Election Commission is moving to financially supporting “even year” elections only, which means municipalities like Montreat with “odd year” elections would have to bear the cost on their own. Therefore, like other Buncombe County municipalities, we are giving consideration to changing to even year elections, saving the Town the additional cost of conducting the election. We’ll talk more about this in future meetings.
  • Montreat College reported another record recruiting year, with more than 500 students here on the Montreat campus. Additional housing was needed, so the college has made arrangements with MRA and Ridgecrest for extra bed space. New parking plans were adopted, and it appears parking issues are lessening.
  • Alex reported that repair estimates for storm damage from May’s Hurricane Alberto continue to increase, topping out now at $864,000. Unfortunately, FEMA refused to declare the area a disaster, meaning the Federal Government will not reimburse us for the damage. However, the State will most likely reimburse us for 75% of the repair cost. We’ll keep you informed of our progress
  • I reminded everyone to put only sticks, limbs and brush in curbside piles. All material is run through a wood chipper. Occasionally, Town staff has found metal and other non-natural materials in the piles, which cause human and mechanical damage when run through the chipper. Please tell neighbors to stick to brush in the curbside pickup.
  • The Commission discussed the Texas Road bridge conversion, focusing on the need for an engineer to assess the current status prior to commencement on Phase I and possibly Phase II from the Bridge Committee’s August report. After discussion, it was agreed that it will be added to the October meeting agenda.
  • Public Comments and Commissioner Communications once again raised the topic of the address issue. Everyone agreed that it continues to be a key issue as indicated by my appointing Commissioner Lentz last month to be responsible for the problem. Clearly, it is an issue that will take time, planning, research and coordinated effort. Alice will keep us informed.


Please let me know if you have any questions or topics you’d like to discuss. Write me at [email protected] or call me at 828/669-3852. I’d love to hear from you. Stay dry.


Again, thank you for your trust in us,

Mayor Tim Helms on behalf of the Town Council


Here is a listing of the formal actions taken by the Commission at the meeting:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

  • Approved meeting minutes of the August 17 (with one change), August 20 and August 27 special meetings
  • Approved a contract with Wheeler Grading in the amount of $10,800 for the Providence Terrace culvert repair
  • Ratified a contract with Civil Design Concepts in the amount of $9,000 for design services for Texas Road water system improvements
  • Approved the appointment of David Holcombe to the Planning and Zoning Commission
  • Directed the Planning and Zoning Commission to review potential zoning of the new Town Hall property recently annexed by Montreat

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