On this rainy December evening, the Council, staff, and a handful of visitors convened for the Public Forum and Council meeting. The summary follows below. You can read the complete official meeting minutes published next month. Or if you would like to view the recording, CLICK HERE.
- Tom Frist expressed appreciation to the Council for our service. He commented about the positive things that are happening and reflected he knows it’s not easy. In his final remark to the Council, he stated, “I’m glad it’s you and not me!”
- After I opened the meeting, I welcomed Buncombe County Superintendent of Public Schools, Rob Jackson. Mr. Jackson thanked the community for our support of public education and for our partnership in working to provide the best for the children of Buncombe County. I thanked Mr. Jackson for attending the meeting and expressed our appreciation that he would take the time to visit us and all the municipalities in the county.
- There were no Public Comments.
- Under New Business
- I had the honor of administering the Oath of Office to our three newly elected, returning Commissioners Mason Blake, Kent Otto, and Tom Widmer. They will each serve four year terms.
- As is our custom in an election year, the Council elected a new Mayor Pro Tem. Commissioner Blake was unanimously elected Mayor Pro Tem, or Vice Mayor.
- I introduced Levonia Reese from our auditing firm, Carter, P.C. Levonia gave a brief overview of the Town’s audit for fiscal year ending June 30, 2022. Highlights include:
- No negative internal control or related matters, which Levonia stated was amazing for a town our size.
- No compliance violations
- Unassigned fund balance of 53%, up from 16% last year
- Net position increased $480,000 to $8.4 million
- Tax collection rate of 99.9%
We are very pleased at the results and our progress over the past few years considering our building projects. We are in a strong financial position. I gave a special thanks to our staff, especially Town Clerk Angie Murphy and Financial Assistant Debbie Taylor. The audit is available on the Town website by CLICKING HERE.
- Public Works Director Barry Creasman presented background information on a motion to accept ownership of a stormwater system originally built by Robert Sulasky for the development on upper Chapman Road. After discussion, the Council voted to accept conveyance of the stormwater system.
- The Council approved a motion presented by Police Chief David Arrant to post No Parking signs on a section of Appalachian Way to prevent damage to the right of way and private property.
- The Council also passed a motion to have a plan of action to deal with the parking problem on Lookout Road presented at the February 2023 Council meeting.
- Zoning Administrator Kayla DiCristina presented information about a motion regarding text amendments to the existing Subdivision Ordinance. The changes were a combination of state statute requirements and our own “housekeeping” changes. The Council approved the motion.
- Similarly, Kayla presented information about a motion regarding text amendments to the Wireless Communications ordinance for the same reasons. The Council approved the motion. Commissioner Widmer asked about consideration of resident comments about health issues related to wireless communications. Kayla stated the purpose and scope of the revisions was to bring our current ordinance into state compliance. Further, FCC regulations prohibit any cell tower development ordinance that includes consideration of health issues.
- After a presentation by Kayla and discussion by the Council on a motion to approve submission of an application for a $25,000 traffic calming study for Assembly Drive, the Council defeated the motion.
- In Commissioners’ Communications:
- Commissioner Otto thanked School Superintendent Jackson for his comments about feeling blessed to return to the beauty of our area. Kent said we are indeed blessed with the staff, MRA, the college, residents, and our Black Mountain partnership.
- Commissioner Fouche gave kudos toMontreat Landcare Committee for their hard work and everything they do for our Town.
- Commissioner Widmer reminded everyone that the second half of bear hunting season begins on Monday, December 12 until January 2. Please be careful.
- Mayor Pro Tem Blake informed everyone about a grassroots effort to add some Christmas “brightness” to Montreat and especially Lake Susan. See the Montreat Minute for details.
Thanks for your encouragement of the work of the Town. If you have any questions about this meeting summary or other town topics, please write me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 828/669-3852. On behalf of the Council, I hope you have a blessed Christmas.
Mayor Tim Helms for the Town Council