Hello Fellow Montreaters, We had a long but productive Council meeting. We appreciate the 20 people who came to be a part of the evening’s proceedings. Here are the highlights from the meeting:
• Public Forum questions/comments included:
o Resident Nancy Fletcher asked about the Greybeard Trail retaining wall repairs. Town Administrator Alex Carmichael stated that the next step is an engineering report/recommendations for reconstruction, then commencing construction. Alex did not have a definitive schedule for these two steps. Nancy also asked about transportation plans during the repair process. Alex stated plans were still in process, but using West Virginia is the only real possible solution. Plans will be developed considering the safety of everyone and will be communicated when developed.
o Resident Laura Wolfe provided her perspective on the construction of the house next door on Texas Road and how she purports there are zoning and code violations. Because this is an active case, I am not able to comment further on it.
o Resident Mary Standaert asked for clarification on the Town Hall financial allocation as stated in the Capital Improvement Plan. Alex explained that the $1.69 million represents the available funding to build the Town Hall, but does not reflect the actual cost, which will be discussed at the special meeting on May 30 at 7:00pm in the Walkup Building. Mary asked when ground breaking would occur. Alex indicated it would likely happen in late June or early July. The actual date will be announced when decided upon.
o Resident Wade Burns offered appreciation for the Public Forum, saying that the evening’s discussions reflected the essence of the purpose of the Public Forums– the ability for give and take conversation and dialogue. •
The Council Meeting began with Alex giving a thorough review of the annual Capital Improvement Plan. It is a plan for capital spending, but not an actual authorization. The authorization will occur at the budget hearing on June 13. I’m not able to overview the plan in this short space, so I suggest you go to the Agenda Package for the May 9 meeting and review the plan, which begins on page 6. The Council made removed/deferred several items in the plan, then approved it to be included in the budget hearings next month.
• In my comments, I thanked the Public Works staff and the Police for their excellent efforts in all the street repairs that have been occurring the last month and the efficiency in which they are being completed. Please thank Barry Creasman and his staff for their work as well as David Arrant and the Police officers for their help in traffic control.
• In addition to approving the revised Capital Improvement Plan, there were a number of routine Council actions, which are outlined in the “Actions” at the end of this report
• During the Public Comment period:
o Resident Laura Wolfe asked when Texas Road will be paved. After the meeting, it was learned that Texas Road will be paved next week (weather permitting), followed by Calving Train and Frist Road. Please check the website for street closure information.
o Resident Mike Sonnenberg made suggestions on how the Town might save money in the Capital Improvement Plan
o Resident Mary Standaert commented that the Agenda Packet, which usually is available the Thursday before the Council meeting, wasn’t available until Tuesday. She also asked that historical significance for the rights of way be presented at the June 13 public hearing.
o Resident Martha Campbell publicly thanked Jean Norris and Brad Hestir for the excellent job that was done on the Native Plant Sale. Jean then thanked the entire committee for their efforts.
• In Commissioner’s comments, Bill Gilliland said he had spoken to Jack Staggs, who said to say hello to all Montreaters
These are the highlights. Of course, official minutes of the meeting will be available in next month’s Agenda packet. If you have any questions or comments on these or any other matters, write me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 828/669-3852.
We appreciate your support, Mayor Tim Helms on behalf of the Town Council
In addition to the acceptance of the revised CIP, the following actions were taken by the Council:
• Approved the contract renewal for staff health insurance with Health Benefit Trust
• Approved a contract for engineering consulting services for Greybeard Trail repair work with Civil Design Concepts
• Approved a contract for tax collection with Buncombe County (this agreement has been in place since 2005)
• Approved a contract for audit services with Martin and Starnes
• Approved two resolutions to hold two Public Hearings on June 13 to hear intents to close street rights-of-way at 163 Texas Road Extension and 109/111 Virginian Road.
• Appointed Chief David Arrant as Deputy Finance Officer for Signature and Approval Authority
• Approved a Public Hearing on the 2019-2020 Budget on June 13