Montreat Minute 6/28/24

Town Council Passes 2024-2025 Budget with No Tax Increase

The Montreat Town Council passed the Fiscal Year 2024-2025 (July 1 to June 30) budget at its meeting last week without a tax increase. The total budget is $2,232,905, a 10% increase over the current year. Highlights of the budget include:

  • No tax increase. Taxes will remain at $0.43 per $100 of valuation.
  • A $15 per month sanitation fee will be added to utility bills for all customers using Town sanitation services. Expenses for sanitation services have increased significantly in the past year. The funds will be used to pay increased fees for landfill charges and dumpster hauling expenses, improvements to the Town Convenience Center, and sanitation staff expenses.
  • The Texas Road Bridge will be replaced at a cost of $250,000. We will be using $150,000 from the General Fund (our savings account) and borrowing the balance.
  • Sidewalks will be completed along Assembly Drive from the Town Hall to the Columbarium entrance and from Lookout Road up the hill to Lake Susan, enabling someone to walk from Lake Susan to downtown Black Mountain on sidewalks the entire way.
  • Staff salary increases include a 3% cost of living increase and a variable, up to 3%, merit increase. Additionally, the Town will pay 75% of family healthcare coverage.

In commenting on the new budget, Mayor Tim Helms said, “This year’s budget was challenging given increased expenses, new initiatives, and general upkeep versus limited revenue. But we kept in mind residents’ desires, and I think struck a good balance.” For a copy of the new budget and budget ordinance, CLICK HERE.

4th of July in Montreat

Much happens in Montreat on the 4th of July. Here’s a quick schedule of activities. See stories below for details:

  • 7:00am                      Gate Race, begins/ends at the gate
  • 10:00am                    Montreat College Book Sale, Bell Library, until 4:00pm
  • 10:00am                    Flag Raising and Pledge, Anderson Auditorium lawn
  • 10:30am                    Parade begins
  • After Parade           Cottagers’ 4th of July Barbeque Picnic, Walkup Building
  • 2:00pm                      Silent Auction, Craft Center, until 5:00pm
  • 2:00pm                      Lawn Games, Anderson Lawn and Moore Field, until 4:00pm
  • 2:00pm                      Free pool, boats and tennis, until 6:00pm
  • 7:00pm                      Big Circle Mountain Dance, Cornwell tennis courts

Other Important Notes about July 4th

Please be aware of these several other important facts about July 4th:

  • Please DO NOT place chairs or other items on the sidewalks prior to the parade to save viewing spots. In addition to large crowds on the 4th, large numbers of conferees will be here using the sidewalks on the parade route. Place your chairs on grass to reserve your favorite parade viewing location.
  • Town offices will be closed on July 4th. The trash Convenience Center will be open on the 4th.

Gate Race Coming July 4th

Get ready for the Montreat Annual Gate Race! The 5K race begins and ends, of course, at the Montreat gate. The mayor will start the race at 7:00am, with the runners taking off on Assembly Drive up to West Virginia Terrace, connecting to Virginia and returning to the gate finish line. The route will be clearly marked.

“We’re excited to have the Gate Race again this year”, stated Mayor Tim Helms. “We are also thankful for Matt Ashley’s leadership of the event. He has organized it for a number of years, and he makes it fun! As usual, this is a ‘no-frills’ race- no medals, no t-shirts, no registration, no fees. Just show up for good fellowship. It’s a fun way to kick-off the 4th of July holiday.”

Where’s Monte This Week?

Last week you met our new mascot, Monte the Guinea Fowl. He is wandering around Montreat this summer getting to know our beautiful cove. Monte had a busy week this week. As busy as he was, he took time to smell the flowers (picture above). He finally found a place to relax for a while. The sun warmed his feathers and the water lulled him to sleep. Where did Monte take a nap this week? (picture below)

Email [email protected] by Monday at noon and tell us where you think Monte was this week. If you are the first person to correctly identify Monte’s location, you win two 4th of July BBQ tickets!

Last Chance for BBQ Tickets and Cottager Directories

Treat yourself to the Montreat Cottagers 4th of July barbeque picnic lunch after the July 4th parade. It’s your choice of barbeque pork or chicken sandwich, baked beans, coleslaw, dessert bar, bag of chips and bottled water. Tickets are only $15.00. The lunches will be distributed at the Walkup Building on Community Circle immediately after the flag raising ceremony.

Tickets must be purchased in advance and will be on sale through Tuesday, July 2nd  (excluding Sunday) at the Montreat Post Office from 9:00 am to noon and at the Montreat Store and Red Radish during regular business hours. Payment by cash or check only.

And, 2024 Cottager Directories are available through July 3rd at the Post Office, also from 9:00am to noon. Directories are $25.00 each (if bought in person) or $35.00 each (if mailed). For questions, please contact Laurie Morgan at 828-669-7626 or email [email protected]. After the 3rd, contact [email protected] to make arrangements to purchase a directory.

Montreat Adult Summer Club Programs Begin July 10th

The Montreat Adult Summer Club has announced its summer lineup for Wednesday program speakers.

July 10The Fouche Family will share about their 2½ year adventure aboard their sailboat touring the Caribbean, the Panama Canal, and the Pacific, including stops in the Galapagos, Tahiti, Bora Bora, and finishing up in Australia. 

July 17: Dale Slusser will talk about the fascinating building tradition from England of building with river rock in Montreat and WNC. Rocks were collected from Flat Creek and other streams to build many of the buildings in Montreat. Win prizes during the “Bingo” game!

July 24: Dr. Carl Savory will share about his experience on the Operation Eagle Claw team, the failed attempt to rescue captive US embassy staff in Tehran, Iran. Eight Americans died in the effort and seven US aircraft were abandoned, captured or destroyed. This experience was later made into a Hollywood movie.

Programs begin at 2:30pm in Upper Anderson. Refreshments will be served immediately following the program.

The final program will be the covered dish picnic on Wednesday, July 31, at 6:00pm in Gaither Fellowship Hall. Walter Somerville will bring his wit with remarks at the picnic.

For more information, pick up a Summer Club brochure at the Post Office, Montreat Store, PHC, and the Huckleberry. The Summer Club celebrates their 113th anniversary this year!

Did You Know?

July 4th at Montreat 1897

Since 1897, when the Mountain Retreat Center was first organized, people have come to Montreat for many different reasons – revivals and conferences, rest and relaxation, health benefits, education, training as missionaries. Whatever their primary focus, everyone set aside July 4 for a shared experience. Our modern celebration, complete with flag-raising, parade, barbeque lunch, many smaller street parties, and an evening square dance, has evolved over the past 127 years.

The first opportunity to wave the flag was the summer of 1897. There was no parade then, probably because the very few streets that existed were more like dirt cart paths. Nonetheless, Montreaters proudly displayed the new flag with 45 stars, denoting the admission of Utah as a state in 1896. In the 1930s, groups in Montreat celebrated collectively with small, home-grown parades. In 1967, after a brief hiatus, that small celebration was renewed with a morning flag-raising, multiple activities on Moore Center field, a barbeque lunch on the grounds, and a larger but still home-grown parade.

While specifics have changed in the past 55 years, the parade defines July 4 in Montreat.  It is led by a fire truck, a police car, and the Grand Marshall riding in a convertible. The Scottish Society’s presence is noted with the pipe and drum corps. The Montreat German Society is fully dressed in authentic costumes. The entire parade is still home-grown: “floats” are flat-bed trailers pulled by pickup trucks; families decorate their cars and walk alongside, often with their dogs; the club programs each carry a banner and dress according to the year’s theme; and organizations like Landcare, the Cottagers, and the Adult Summer Club carry identifying banners.  Montreaters who are not in the parade line the route with their chairs the night before to get the best viewing locations. Cars parked along Assembly Drive all the way to the gate attest to the popularity of this event.  And after the parade, after the picnic, after a nap, it is time for the square dance on the tennis courts! Grab your partner and circle up!

Updates and Reminders

  • Remember to place your bulk Items/white goods curbside for pick up on Tuesday, July 9th. For more information about items for bulk pick up, CLICK HERE. Take advantage of this free service (except mattresses, box springs, TV/Monitors – $15 each) offered by the Town.
  • The Montreat Cottagers’ Wilderness and Open Spaces Committee will offer two discussion forums about an important issue relating to the ownership of the Rocky Knob Wilderness Conservation Easement. The issue will be discussed and voted on at the Cottagers annual meeting. In preparation for the vote, there will be two informational meetings on Saturday, July 6th at 10:00AM and Sunday, July 14th at 2:00PM.  Both meetings will be in the meeting room of the Montreat Town Hall. For more information, CLICK HERE.
  • Do you receive your own copy of the Montreat Minute or know someone who doesn’t? Sign up for the Sunshine List to receive the Montreat Minute and stay “in the know” about the Town’s happenings. CLICK HERE to sign up for the list!

Questions or Comments?

Do you have Town-related questions or comments to offer? If so, please send them to Angie Murphy at [email protected] and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

Have a great weekend and a fun July 4th holiday