After nearly 18” of snow dumped here in our cove, a hearty group of Montreaters convened for the December Town Council meeting. Given the weather conditions, we were most grateful for the folks who came out to observe and provide their comments during public comment periods. And thanks to Mary Standaert for sharing her homemade peanut brittle with all attendees!
Here are the highlights of the meeting:
- Public Forum questions/comments included:
- For the second month in a row, Montreat Public Works staff received much gratitude for their work during the snow storm. Town Administrator, Alex Carmichael, stated that beginning Saturday evening, we had 24 hour per day road clearing until Tuesday. PW staff worked 12 hour shifts to make sure our roads were clear and safe. The wet snow made removal particularly difficult due to the density and weight of the snow. If you see Montreat staff, stop and thank them for their extreme efforts. They’ll appreciate it. Alex also mentioned that MRA provided housing and food to the Town staff, for which we are extremely grateful. All in all, great teamwork, dedication and expertise minimized the effects of the storm.
- Montreat College will be having graduation on Saturday, December 15, with 99 students taking the honorable walk across the stage for their diplomas. Congratulations graduates and best wishes in your careers.
- A question was asked about paving of the roads that were prepped earlier in the fall. Alex responded that paving was planned to commence this past Monday. Obviously, it didn’t happen. It has been rescheduled for next week, weather permitting.
- I had the honor of swearing in our newest Montreat Police Department officer, Kaila Gant. The ceremony was a family affair, with her sister holding the Bible, her father (a retired County Sheriff’s Deputy) pinning her badge on her uniform, and her husband video recording the entire event. Please welcome Kaila when you see her.
- I also had the honor of reading a resolution honoring MRA’s Mike Morse who is retiring after 13 years of dedicated and effective service. Mike has positively impacted the ministry and service of MRA, and has had a very positive impact on our community. Thank you, Mike, and best wishes in your retirement.
- Alex reported that the Town is seeking reimbursement from the state for damages from Tropical Storm Alberto last May. It appears that Montreat incurred more than $880,000 in damages to roads and other public property. FEMA has decided they will not reimburse for damages, thus we are requesting support from the state. If approved, they will reimburse 75% of our expenses.
- The Commission reconsidered the issue of removing the restrictions from the Commission meeting public comment periods so that any comment could be offered during either comment period. After discussion with Commissioners sharing their positions, the vote passed unanimously to remove the restrictions.
- The Commission voted on a number of committee appointments and reappointments, including appointing Dan Dean to the Planning and Zoning Committee; Brad Hestir, Ann Vinson and Maggie Ray to the Tree Board; and Matt Ashley to the Metropolitan Sewerage District Board.
- The Commission also voted to call on the NC General Assembly to move the local election cycle from odd years to even years, commensurate with what nearly all the other Buncombe County municipalities have done after similar changes made in Asheville by the General Assembly. This will necessitate extending current Commissioners’ terms, as well as mine, one year forward.
- During Commissioner Communications, Commissioner Otto thanked the Public Works staff for their fine work earlier in the week during the storm. He also explained the importance of the work to be done by the Planning and Zoning Committee in their review of Town Ordinances next year. Commissioner Widmer encouraged everyone to review the January Agenda Packet, which will be available online on January 3, and to come to the January 10 Commission meeting. The preliminary Town Hall design drawings will be included as the Commission will be voting on the budget and design.
That’s it for December. Please let me know if you have any questions on what was discussed or anything else for that matter. Write me at [email protected] or call me at 828/669-3852.
We wish you a very merry Christmas,
Mayor Tim Helms on behalf of the Town Council
In addition to the formal actions taken by the Commission mentioned above:
- Approved minutes of the October 11 Regular Meeting, the October 29 Special Meeting, and the November 8 Public Forum and Regular Meeting
- Approved the revised Zoning Map
- Approved the 2019 Board of Commissioners Meeting Calendar
- Approved the Planning and Zoning Committee to review the provisions of the Town’s Zoning Ordinances, with a final report at the August 2019 meeting
- Authorized me to execute a contract for the sale of one of the Florida Terrace properties in the amount of $117,500. The other lot remains on the market.