Mayor’s Summary of the April 11, 2024 Town Council Meeting

Greetings Montreaters!

This rainy day kept most people at home (watching on their computers?). We were thankful for the seven people who joined us.

My meeting summary follows below, but the official minutes will be in next month’s agenda packet. And remember that you can view tonight’s meeting recording by CLICKING HERE.

Public Forum

  • Jean Norris provided us with an update on the Pigeon River Grant. It was previously submitted for a request of approximately $34,000. Jean stated she has had several conversations with the program officer who asked several new questions outside of the grant application. Although she hasn’t heard anything about winning the grant, Jean is feeling optimistic based on her conversations.

Council Meeting

  • After I opened the meeting, I mentioned that I attended several governmental meetings in the past several weeks, including the State Board of Transportation annual meeting in Asheville and the Town and State Annual Dinner in Hickory. It was an excellent opportunity to speak with our government representatives.
  • Town Manager Savannah Parrish reported that we have hired a new police officer, Olivia Pressley, She is currently on pregnancy leave but will be on the job in mid-May. She also reminded everyone that the new Utility Billing Portal is operating, making it easy to pay Town bills. To sign up for the service, CLICK HERE.
  • Public Comments included:
    • Martha Cambell offered suggestions for the ’24-’25 budget. She supports all staff receiving a living wage. Additionally, she would like to see all staff receive a cost of living adjustment.
    • During the second Public Comment period, Martha expressed her concern about a construction project on her street, Maryland Place. The house has been under construction for quite a while, although progress has been very intermittent. As a result, there are environmental concerns. She requested additional oversight be given to the project.

  • Under Old Business:
    • The Council discussed the proposal to provide legal services by the law firm Allen Stahl + Kilbourne. Firm principle, Derek Allen, spoke to the proposal and answered questions from the Council. After further discussion, the Council approved the proposal subject to acceptance of the final legal agreement and review after budget discussions to determine affordability.

  • Under New Business:
    • The Council discussed the proposed Utility Billing Policy and Procedure proposed by staff. Savannah asked the Council and residents to spend time reviewing the document and providing comments.
    • The Council adopted an Earth Day Proclamation, designating Aprill 22 as Montreat Earth Day.
    • The Council adopted a Municipal Clerks Week Proclamation, designating May 5-11 as Municipal Clerks Week and gave a round of applause to Montreat’s own Municipal Clerk, Angie Murphy.
    • The Council adopted an Arbor Day Proclamation, designating May 4 as Arbor Day in Montreat.

Under Commissioner Communications, Commissioner Fouche expressed her concern about the Montreat Steward signs and red bows that have been up for nearly four years. They are not pleasing and are embarrassing when visitors and guests see them and inquire as to their purpose. They also send a divisive message. She requested that homeowners remove the signs and bows enabling us to return to the beauty of Montreat as it was.

Thank you for your participation, encouragement, and interest in the work of our Town.

If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, please write me at [email protected] or call me at 828/669-3852.

Mayor Tim Helms on behalf of the Town Council