Mayor’s Summary of the October 10, 2019 Town Council Meeting

Greetings Friends,

We had approximately 20 people at last night’s meeting in addition to Commissioners and staff members. We’re thankful for their participation. Here’s a summary of the meeting highlights. As usual, a full summary is in the official meeting minutes in next month’s agenda packet.

  • Public Forum questions/comments included:
    • Sally Stansil spoke about the high levels of traffic noise on Assembly Drive. It has become quite a nuisance at all times of day. She appealed to the Commission to do something to slow down speeders and try to abate noise levels from trucks and other vehicles.
    • Meredith Green, who lives on Kanawha, also spoke about the high speed of autos and trucks on Kanawha and the dangerous situation it creates, especially on the curves. Commissioners and Town Administrator Alex Carmichael spoke to these issues and pledged that we would work on helping resolve the traffic issues (see Chief Arrant’s report later in this summary).
    • Nancy Fletcher asked about the status of the lower Greybeard Trail repairs and the traffic re-routing during the repair period. Alex commented that bids for the construction had been opened earlier in the day. He expects construction to begin next month. He also commented that the traffic re-routing plan has not been established yet, but it is a key responsibility of the engineer who is working on the project. We will let everyone know what the traffic re-routing plans are well in advance of when it occurs.
    • Martha Campbell thanked the Town for publicizing the Firewise initiative recently and spoke to the importance of removing leaves from yards and foundation plantings, as leaves act as “wicks” for fires. She also strongly recommended that seasonal residents should remove leaves now rather than when they return in the spring.
  • Alex gave several updates:
    • Tropical Storm Alberto (May 2018) project repairs are going well. There were 22 distinct projects as a result of the storm, with an initial cost estimate of $986,000. As of this date, 16 of the 22 projects have been completed, two are in progress, and four have yet to be started. Town staff have been doing most of the repairs, saving the Town considerable expense, with all completed projects coming in under estimates.
    • The Texas Road pedestrian bridge Aesthetics Committee met earlier in the day along with the engineering firm to discuss what can be done now versus phase two of the project and how the Committee and engineering firm can work together to create an aesthetically pleasing yet functional bridge. Everyone was pleased with the discussion, and the Committee has several more meetings scheduled to proceed with their planning.
    • Construction on the new Public Works building will begin in several weeks. Several contracts were approved during the meeting (see “Actions” at the end of this Summary) with the hopes that the building will be completed before the end of the year. The building will be located behind the MRA Maintenance building adjacent to the current Town Services offices and will have equipment storage as well as Public Works offices.
    • Repaving of Kentucky, Wyck, South Carolina Terrace and Texas Spur will begin in the next several weeks.
  • During the Public Comment period:
    • Martha Campbell reminded everyone about the “bearwise” presentation on Tuesday, October 22 at 5:00 pm in Upper Anderson.
    • Ann Vinson presented the North Carolina Urban Forest Council Tree City USA 2019 Award to me. Montreat was selected as the recipient in the state of North Carolina. It’s a beautiful award and will be prominently displayed in our new Town Hall. We are most grateful to Ann and all the members of the Tree Board for their hard work.
    • MRA President and resident Richard Dubose commented on the traffic issue and said from his perspective, the issue is one of pedestrian safety. He supports traffic calming initiatives, including a three way stop at the corner of Assembly and Georgia Terrace. Several others, including Tom Frist and Clary Phipps, also spoke to the traffic issue, but cautioned us on not creating an adversarial situation between the Town Police and drivers. We can do this in a friendly, community-minded way.
  • In New Business, Police Chief David Arrant talked about various “traffic calming” techniques, including a speed sign (similar to those in Black Mountain) that has been ordered, establishing a three-way stop at Assembly Drive and Georgia Terrace, a higher police presence on Assembly, speed bumps and other possible initiatives. Commissioner Widmer asked Chief Arrant to develop a definitive plan and present it to the Commission at an upcoming meeting.
  • In Commissioner’s comments:
    • Alice Lentz thanked Ann Vinson for the work of the Tree Board and presented me with yet another award from the National Wildlife Federation recognizing Montreat for 14 years of being a Certified Wildlife Habitat.
    • Kitty Fouche offered an accolade to Ron Vinson and the Presbyterian Heritage Center for the upcoming C.S. Lewis Conference on November 6-8. Ron commented that more than 600 attendees, including students from WNC State and Montreat College, are expected for this special event.
  • Commissioners moved into a closed session and returned afterward to take two actions:  passing a budget amendment in the amount of $95,000 for a mediated settlement and approving a resolution authorizing me to sign and execute the mediated summary.
  • Commissioners then moved into a second closed session regarding a personnel matter.

Thank you for your support of the Council and our Town staff. If you have any questions or comments regarding this summary, please write me at [email protected] or call me at 919/801-8618.

We appreciate you,

Mayor Tim Helms on behalf of the Town Council

In addition to the several actions stated above, other action include:                                                                                                                 

  • Approving a contract to replace a well pump on Harmony Lane
  • Awarding a bid for a general contractor on the Public Works building and authorizing me and Alex to negotiate and execute the contract
  • Awarding a bid for a waterline project and authorizing me and Alex to negotiate and execute the contract
  • Awarding a bid for engineering and design work on the Public Works building and authorizing me and Alex to negotiate and execute the contract
  • Setting a special meeting to act on the Greybeard Trail repair project. The meeting will be held on October 28 at 4:00pm, in the Town Services Building.