Vice Mayor’s Summary of the March 14, 2019 Town Council Meeting

Greetings Fellow Montreaters,

This is Kent Otto, Mayor Pro Tem, taking over for Mayor Helm’s as he was out of town for the meeting. We were appreciative of the 16 people who came to be a part of the evening’s proceedings.

Here are the highlights from the meeting:

Public Forum questions/comments included:

  • There were a number of comments regarding the “scenic detour” that was set up due to the culvert re-construction on Assembly Drive. A question was asked about when the work would be finished. I shared with them that due to weather and other circumstances, the project will not be complete until Monday afternoon, weather permitting. Several others commented on the high speed of many cars, which makes for hazardous conditions on the narrow roads. Town Administrator, Alex Carmichael, took note of the comments and will ensure public safety is upheld. We’re most grateful for everyone’s patience during this process and we expect you will like the addition of the crosswalk across Assembly. It will eventually be part of the entire sidewalk connection from Montreat to Black Mountain.
  • Montreat College’s Sara Baughman reminded everyone that the students will be returning from spring break this weekend for Monday classes. The students have been informed about the detour. So, expect increased traffic this weekend. Sarah also reminded everyone of the upcoming Thielman Lecture Series on Tuesday and Wednesday, March 19 and 20. Writer, speaker, and spoken word artist Jackie Hill-Perry is this year’s Calvin Thielman Lecture Series speaker. She will speak in Graham Chapel at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 19 and at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, March 20. Both events are free and open to the public. CLICK HERE for more information.

Council Meeting:

  • In the Council Meeting, we had a report from our auditor, Jennifer Rice, regarding our fiscal year 2018 annual financial report. Highlights include a significant excess of revenues over expenses, a slight decrease in our General Fund Balance due to Capital Fund transfers for the Town Hall and Public Works building, and an increase in the available unrestricted funds. Overall, we have a positive financial position. The Council thanked the staff for their hard work and excellent reporting.
  • Commissioner Alice Lentz gave a report on her activities on the Montreat address issue. She has been working on the issue since September and has collected much information. Although there is no resolution yet, concerted effort has been directed to the problem and we will continue this effort.  In my comments, I reminded everyone that weather permitting, Assembly Drive will be open again on Monday. Town Public Works staff has done an excellent job in the planning of this major project and has been hard at work along with contractors. I also shared that Alex, Mayor Helms and I met with NC Dept. of Transportation personnel for an update on Route 9 improvements. They told us complete repaving of Montreat Road (Rt. 9) from the gate to State Street in Black Mountain will be completed by Oct. 19.
  • Alex gave an excellent overview of capital projects’ status. Because there is so much happening, from the Town Hall and Texas Road Bridge to road paving, it’s impractical to list everything here. But check out the minutes of the meeting in a few weeks to see what how our Public Works staff is staying busy. You will be impressed!
  • There were a number of appointments and re-appointments to committees. We are most thankful for citizens’ willingness to volunteer in the work of our Town. We couldn’t operate without your help. See the list at the end of this summary for all appointments.
  • The Commission voted to call a Public Hearing on Thursday, April 11, on the subject of installment financing contracting for the construction of the Town Hall. Location and time details will be publicized when available.
  • A report of the Town Hall special fundraising project was provided by co-chairs Bill Scheu and Tom Frist. They gratefully announced that the goal of $50,000 was exceeded. As of this date, more than $78,000 has been donated for special improvements to the new Town Hall that were not included in the original project. Bill and Tom thanked the 10 volunteers who helped with the campaign and thanked the generous donors. The Council then discussed the overage and how best to use it. After discussion, it was agreed to apply it to the proposed educational rain garden on the new Town Hall property. It was also made clear that donors will have to be informed about the additional funds and the proposed use then give their permission for the funds to be used in that manner.

Please let me know if you have any questions on what was discussed or any other matters. Write me at [email protected] or call me at 919/801-8618. Thank you for your confidence in our work, Mayor Pro Tem Kent Otto on behalf of the Town Council.

The following actions were taken by the Council in addition to the Public Hearing:

  • Approved minutes for the Feb. 13 and Feb. 14 Special Meetings and the Feb. 14 Town Council Meeting
  • Approved corrected minutes for the Feb. 14 Public Forum
  • Approved appointments of:
    • Martha Chastain to the Board of Adjustment
    • Margaret Waterstradt to the Board of Adjustment
    • Robert Sulaski to the Board of Adjustment
  • Approved Re-appointments of:
    • Hugh Alexander to the Audit Committee
    • Philip Arnold to the Open Spaces Conservation Committee
    • AnnKelso Hewitt to the Board of Adjustment
  • Passed a resolution regarding Montreat address issues and problems resulting from confusion between Town of Montreat Zip Code (28757) and Black Mountain Zip Code (28711)

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