Montreat Minute 05/22/2020

COVID-19 Update

Once again, here are several COVID-19 updates pertinent to the Montreat community:

  • Although the state of North Carolina and Buncombe County announced new Phase 2 regulations in the last two days, little has changed for us here in Montreat other than when we leave the gates to go into town.
  • Tourism is now allowed for those inside and outside the 828 area code.
  • Montreat property owners are welcome to come to your homes to stay for any length of time. If coming from out of state, you are encouraged to quarantine for the traditional 14 day period.
  • Due to COVID-19 related circumstances and contrary to what was announced last week, the administrative staff will remain officing in home and the Town Services offices will remain closed to the public. Building permits and inspections have not been affected and continue with safe distancing precautions. For any questions, call 828-669-8002 or email info@townofmontreat.org.
  • Again, contrary to last week’s announcement about the Presbyterian Heritage Center, their special opening scheduled for tomorrow, Saturday, May 23, has been cancelled due to COVID-19 regulations concerning museums not being lifted in Phase 2.

2020 Census Update

Last week we mentioned the Census Bureau began hanging census packages on doors of Montreat homes. We heard from many of you that you did not receive a package. In checking with our Census Bureau contact, we learned that delivery of the packages is not complete and will continue for weeks to come. However, if you would like to complete your census online without your package, it is easily done. CLICK HERE for detailed instructions on how to do so.

We are grateful for everyone’s desire to participate. Its importance cannot be overstated. Not only does it provide an accurate accounting of our population, but it also provides Federal funding locally. The Census Bureau estimates that each person counted represents $1,623 in funding for local municipalities. So, please take the time to complete your census.

Project Updates

  • Town Hall progress may look like it is slowing down, and it is on the exterior due to rain delays and supply shortages. Stone is on backorder and handrails are delayed. But on the interior, completion is imminent. The interior will be handed over on June 2, while the exterior will be delayed several weeks. Move-in is scheduled for July 1. We are quite excited about the quality of work we are receiving.
  • The Public Works building is nearing completion as well. The interior build out is well underway. We expect completion by the end of June. Besides the open work area and equipment storage, the building will also have an office for Barry Creasman, a break room, bathrooms and a shower.

Meet David Arrant, Montreat Chief of Police

David and his best buddy, Atticus

Each month we feature a Montreat staff member or Board of Commission member. This month we are featuring Chief of Police, David Arrant.

David Arrant is a local boy. So local that he has never left the Asheville area. He loves Western North Carolina and found no reason to leave. He was born in Asheville, raised in Fletcher and currently resides in Asheville in the Oakley area.

David graduated from TC Roberson High School and went on to AB Tech. After a year, he decided it was time to take a break from school and found himself in the restaurant industry. Soon he was preparing food as a cook and eventually as a sous chef in an Italian restaurant. He enjoyed the creativity of the kitchen and still does to this day. But, as fate would have it, he ended up working for a bail bonding company as a bail bondsman, or as some call it, a “bounty hunter”. David enjoyed the fast paced, sometimes dangerous nature of the business. Although he didn’t know if at the time, it whet his appetite for law enforcement.

After a number of years chasing people who skipped out on their bond and often working with local law enforcement officials, someone suggested he attend the Buncombe County police academy. He graduated from the academy but doing so does not guarantee a position as a deputy or police officer. David continued to work as a bail bondsman while keeping his eyes open for law enforcement opportunities. One day, a friend suggested he come to Montreat to meet with then Police Chief William McClintock to discuss old military handguns, which both David and “Mac” collected. They hit it off, Mac learned of David’s interest in police work and happened to have an open position. The rest is history.

David began his duties as a Montreat patrol officer in 2005 and will be celebrating his 15-year anniversary this summer. David worked as a patrol officer for 11 years, then became Captain in 2016. It was a short stint, as he was appointed Chief of Police in 2017.

What’s so special to keep someone like David here for 15 years? “It just feels like home,” David responded. “I enjoy the closeness of contact with the people I work with and the residents and guests. Sure, I hear a lot of ‘Mayberry’ cracks, but there is something very special about working in a small department. The breadth of our work is pretty widespread, doing many different things. And, when Dr. Graham was alive, it certainly ‘amped’ things up. We often worked with other law enforcement agencies, the Secret Service, and a variety of dignitaries. Unlike in a large department, none of us are ‘anonymous cogs’ in a big force.”

In his off hours (which aren’t many since he’s on call 24/7), he still loves to cook. Blackened chicken is his specialty, but he loves Latino and Italian cuisine. He plays the guitar and listens to music, primarily rock and country. Because he is gone so much, he enjoys staying home doing yardwork and working around the house. But his favorite activity is playing with his German Shepherd, Atticus. Atticus is quite energetic and chases Frisbees and balls for however long David’s arm can take it!

When asked what one thing the people of Montreat probably don’t know about him, David quickly responded. “They would probably never have guessed that in my early adult years I had extremely long hair, a beard and wore Birkenstocks wherever I went!” Yes, David, that is quite a surprise! His hair is now close cropped, he’s clean shaven, but he still wears Birkenstocks!

Not a Halloween costume. This is David in 2002!

Asked for any final comments, David said, “I’m honored to find myself in this position at Montreat. I feel lucky to be here. Montreat and I found each other.” Thank you, David, for your dedicated service and we are glad you and Montreat found each other.

Other Important Information

  • The Town Council will hold a special called meeting to review the 2020-2021 budget. Again, the meeting will be virtual and closed to the public. You may join the meeting via Zoom by clicking here. A Public Hearing will precede the meeting. You may submit your questions/comments in advance to info@townofmontreat.org indicating “Budget Hearing” in the subject line.
  • Town Offices will be closed on Monday, May 25, in celebration of Memorial Day. Sanitation pick up will be postponed until Tuesday.
  • Speaking of sanitation services, Public Works staff has informed us that many trash bags are not being tied before being placed in trash receptacles. Please tie your trash bags. This simple task saves sanitation staff much time in their collection efforts. Thank you for helping them.

Questions?

Do you have Town-related questions you would like answered? If so, please send them to Angela Murphy at info@townofmontreat.org and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

Have a safe Memorial Day weekend!

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