Mayor’s Summary of the February 11, 2021 Town Council Meeting

Greetings Montreaters,

Once again, we had to resort to a virtual Town Council meeting for guests. The Council and several staff met at the Town Hall for the meeting. We streamed the meeting on Zoom. But if you missed it, we recorded it and posted it to our Youtube channel. CLICK HERE to watch the recording.

Here’s a summary of tonight’s meeting:

  • I called the meeting to order with all Commissioners present. We approved the minutes of the January meeting.
  • Public Works Director Barry Creasman gave an update on the Texas Road bank remediation project, up near the entrance to the pool. The contractor submitted a preliminary plan, which is quite similar to the solution used on Greybeard Trail. After some discussion, Barry was asked to talk to the contractor about other more aesthetic designs. Barry will report back.
  • In my communications:
    1. I offered thanks to Sanitation Worker Bill Creasman who recently came to the aid of a Montreat resident. Bill noticed that her trash was not out as usual, yet her car was in the driveway. He was concerned about her and knocked on the door, but no answer. The next day he returned to check on her. She was at home and fine, having simply stayed with her family elsewhere. Bill took her trash, and she was grateful for his checking in on her. We are fortunate to have town staff like Bill who are dedicated to our residents and willing to go beyond what is expected of them.
    2. For those who may not be aware, our Assistant Postmistress, Nova Effler recently lost her mother. Nova was hit hard by the suddenness of her passing. Please offer Nova words of comfort and condolence.
    3. Council members have been receiving various emails recently asking them to take action on various subjects. I reminded residents that the Council cannot take action on any issue unless it comes before them during a meeting. We appreciate getting “heads up” on issues, but want everyone to know the process.
  • Town Administrator Alex Carmichael gave updates on several items including:
    1. He has been talking with MRA staff and other Town staff about the pet waste issue and is working on solutions. We asked Alex to return at the next meeting with recommendations.
    2. The Council will have its planning retreat on March 3. There will be a second day of planning later in March, the date to be announced.
    3. Kudos to the Public Works staff, Barry, Daniel Wiggs and Mike Harrison in particular, for the two-Sundays-in-a row of snow removal. They worked hard to clear our streets before most of us were even awake!

Commissioner Lentz asked about follow up with the resident who emailed  about the traffic and speed problem on Texas Road down by the Tennis Courts. Alex said we are looking into placing signs and directing traffic to proceed to exit up Texas Road Spur.

  • There were no Public Comments this month.
  • Under New Business:
    1. The Council approved a proclamation from me proclaiming February 11th as the Mayor’s Monarch Pledge Day. The proclamation recognizes the importance of Monarch butterflies in our ecology system and encourages citizens to create friendly environments in their yards for the Monarchs. Commissioner Widmer informed everyone that the Town Hall landscape volunteers, the Gardeners of Weedin’, will be conducting a fund raiser to create a butterfly garden in the Town Hall pocket park.
    2. The Council also approved the appointment of Meredith Greene to the Montreat Landcare Committee as the Town representative.
  • In Commissioners’ Communications:
    1. Commissioners Fouche and Widmer gave an update on the address/zip code issue:
      • Commissioner Fouche reminded everyone that at the heart of our problem is the fact that zip codes were developed by the USPS solely for the delivery of mail. Over time, other entities have adopted zip codes in various forms for their own product and service applications, which does not always lend itself to accurate uses- as in the case at Montreat.
      • Commissioner Widmer reported that he and Alex contacted other municipalities throughout NC to see if others have had similar problems and how they resolved them. They received more than 15 responses. Unfortunately, although they had experienced similar problems, none had been able to get satisfactory resolution. He handed out a summary of some of the responses. For a copy, CLICK HERE.
      • The final step that will be taken is to petition the USPS to assign a second unique zip code for Montreat that would link all street addresses to the new zip code. Mail would continue to be delivered to our PO Boxes.
    2. Commissioner Lentz stated that the Tree Board met last month and laid out their plan for the year. Alice also stated the Montreat Landcare Committee has continued to be active. As part of her report, she stated that the issue of “contract labor”, which currently includes college students and hourly “handy men”, and the removal of leaves needs to be addressed.

Please stay well and safe. We look forward to welcoming you back to our monthly meetings when things are safe again.

If you have any questions about this meeting summary or any topic, please write me at [email protected] or call me at 828/669-3852.

Mayor Tim Helms on behalf of the Town Council