Montreat Says Goodbye to Town Administrator Ron Nalley!
It was a bittersweet evening at the July Town Council Meeting as residents celebrated Ron Nalley's achievements and said their goodbyes as he leaves to begin his new adventure with the Town of Lake Lure. We wish him the best and he will definitely be missed!!
Mayor's Message to the People of Montreat
The following letter was read by Mayor Helms at the Cottagers Meeting on July 2nd, 2016:
This is the first message from me as Mayor to you, the taxpayers of Montreat. The Town Council, staff and I value all of you in this wonderful community that we are privileged to be a part of, whether you live here all the time or divide your time in different places.
First, let me say that I am happy to report that there will be no tax increase in the coming year! As you are aware, your new Town Council and I inherited a heavy agenda involving a new town hall on Florida Terrace and a large bridge on Texas Road. We have addressed these major challenges from day one, and here is what has been done so far:
We have placed the Texas Road Bridge on hold. I appointed a Citizen Bridge Committee to work with members of the community and State and Federal Government officials to find a solution which serves Montreat best, now and in the future. The Bridge Committee held public meetings and made recommendations to the Town Council on June 2. See the committee’s list of recommendations which is attached. I would like to congratulate and thank the Chairperson, Alice Lentz, for her pleasant and efficient leadership, as well as the members of the community who served so diligently on the committee with her. The Town Council will address their recommendations in the near future.
The Town Hall on Florida Terrace was estimated to cost more than $2.25 million. In December, 2014, a lawsuit brought by five Montreat taxpayers resulted in the court ordering the Town not to proceed with the project until the lawsuit had been decided. In December 2015, the Plaintiffs (Montreat taxpayers who brought the suit) offered to settle the lawsuit. The new Town Council rejected the Plaintiffs’ initial offer and deliberated on how to (1) save taxpayer money by settling the lawsuit that could result in significant additional costs from months of depositions and trial, (2) expedite finding an appropriate location for a much-needed new Town Hall, and (3) obtain a clear title to the Florida Terrace property to allow for the sale of the property.
The Town Council found it necessary to put aside a natural objection to paying some portion of the requested Plaintiffs’ legal fees. The Town Council attorney advised us that if the Town Council did not settle and the case went to trial that it was possible that the Town could be ordered to pay all of the present legal costs plus the additional fees accumulated during the trial and possible appeal. To stop the accumulation of legal fees and to allow the Town to move forward with the acquisition of a site for a new Town Hall, the Town Council agreed (in a 3-2 vote) to settle the lawsuit, agreeing to pay $50,000 of the $66,000 legal fees incurred to date by the Plaintiffs. It is my understanding that this money will be distributed on a pro rata basis to the Plaintiffs and the 110 Montreat contributors who supported the lawsuit. I agreed with the Town Council’s decision to settle following the Town Attorney’s opinion that the Town could be made to pay all the costs if they went to trial. The risk of losing more money was too great. Most civil lawsuits are settled (reportedly 80 to 97%), so the Town’s decision (3-2 vote) to settle was not unusual in order to end the spending. The Town Council also voted to pay the additional related legal fees incurred during the litigation process. With this settlement comes a clear title to the Florida Terrace property allowing it to be sold. I believe the Town Council will support my strong view that we should spend significantly less that the proposed $2.25 million Florida Terrace Town Hall for our small town.
At the request of a concerned Montreat citizen, the Town established a Reconciliation Fund for those who would like to help defray the cost of resolving the lawsuit filed in opposition to the Florida Terrace town hall. Those who contributed to the lawsuit will be receiving money back and they may choose to donate all or part of that money to the Town Fund to help pay the legal fees. There may be others who may not have supported the lawsuit but who want to help the Town resolve this divisive issue.
With the approval of the Town Council, I will appoint a Town Hall Committee of taxpayers along with one or more commissioners to ascertain the will of the community regarding the size, style, location and costs of a new Town Hall. I will ask for their recommendations to be presented to the Town Council by September 2016.
The Town Council approved a trial solution to the garbage service which was initiated on May 30 and entails the use of preprinted, colored bags when garbage is brought to the Town Services Office, Monday-Friday. Please see the attachment for details. Commissioner Kent Otto graciously agreed to provide a trailer for garbage at the Gate on Saturday mornings, 7:00-11:00 a.m., as a volunteer service to those leaving on Saturday mornings. We realize that the disposal of garbage is important, and procedures will be reviewed and adjustments made to meet your needs.
Once these high priority matters are underway, I will work with the Town Council and our committees to review our regulations along with the structure and costs of our Town government. We will keep you informed of progress on the bridge and the new Town Hall and new developments as they arise. The Town Council and I welcome your suggestions and questions. The public is now invited to speak and interact with the Town Council on the first Thursday of each month, 6:30-7:00 p.m., before the start of the Agenda Meeting. Also, please check the Town of Montreat board at the Post Office and the Town of Montreat website (www.townofmontreat.org) for information. If you are not on the Town’s Sunshine List for Town Communications, please add your email to that important list by logging into the Town website. We are dedicated to serving you and to communicating with you as we work for the Montreat we all want.
Town Administrator Ron Nalley has accepted a position at Lake Lure starting August 1 and has submitted his resignation. Along with the community, I wish him well with his new expanded duties in a larger town, and we thank him for all he has done for Montreat. I encourage you to come to the Walkup Building at 6:30 p.m. on July 14th, prior to the regular Town Council meeting, to offer your thanks and good wishes to Ron before he leaves.
Tim Helms, Mayor
Montreat Gate Closed Due to Damages
This morning the Montreat Gate was struck by a truck heading south-bound. This has caused extensive damage to the structure of the gate and it is closed until further notice. Please use caution around the entrance. This may cause some traffic delays around the Holiday Weekend.
Town Services Office Closed
Town Services Office will be closed on Monday, July 4th in observance of Independence Day. Sanitation Services will resume on Tuesday, July 5th!
Have a Safe and Happy 4th of July!!
2016-2017 Town of Montreat Sanitation Schedules
The new Sanitation Schedules will be mailed out this week. They can also be found here. Please call Town Services at 828-669-8002 ext 301 if you have any questions.
Expanded Program for Disposal of Trash and Recyclables
The Board has approved the following changes to the Town of Montreat's Sanitation Services:
On May 30th, the Town of Montreat will begin a new, expanded program for disposing of trash and recyclables. Because the trash compactor site located behind the Town Services Building will be closing to the public, the Town will be accepting the specially printed green trash bags and the specially printed blue recycling bags. For your convenience, Town Staff will be distributing one of each bag to each household, free of charge beginning the week of June 6th. Additional trash bags and recycling bags can be purchased at the Town Services Building. A box of five bags is $5.00.
The new program is quite simple. Should you, or someone staying at your home, need to dispose of small amounts of kitchen or household trash or recyclables outside of the regular pickup schedule, the filled pre-printed bags can be dropped off at the Town Services Building between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. ONLY the special pre-printed bags will be accepted by the Town for disposal at the Town Services Building. A special collection area has been built to accommodate the bags. Just ask any Town employee for instructions on where to place the bags. Out of courtesy, please do not leave the bags in the parking lot, outside the building or along the fence. NC General Statute 14-399 regulating littering and illegal dumping will be enforced.
The weekly curbside pickup schedule WILL NOT change, and you WILL NOT need to purchase the special bags if you use our curbside or backdoor service.
We hope that you find this new program a safer and more effective method of disposing of extra kitchen garbage and recyclables that often accumulate during the week. The new system will help to reduce the illegal dumping and to resolve safety issues and concerns at the compactor site.
Should you have questions or require any additional information, please do not hesitate to contact us at (828)669-8002.
June Town Council Agenda Meeting
The June Town Council Agenda Meeting will be held on Thursday, June 2 at 7:00 p.m. in the Walkup Building. The Public Forum will begin at 6:30 p.m. The packet can be found here.
Proposed 2016-2017 Fiscal Year Budget for the Town of Montreat
The proposed 2016-2017 Fiscal Year Budget for the Town of Montreat has been presented to the Board of Commissioners and is available for public inspection in the Town Services Office each weekday from 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.
The Montreat Board of Commissioners will hold a Public Hearing on June 9, 2016 at 7:00 p.m. or as soon possible thereafter in the Walkup Building, 300 Community Center Circle, Montreat, NC for the purpose of receiving comments on the proposed budget.
Montreat Receives Tree City USA Designation
Congratulations to the Town of Montreat for becoming a Tree City USA! In
Shane Baker, NC Forest Service, was on hand to present the plaque to Mayor Tim Helms and Commissioner Ann Vinson (Chair of the Tree Board) at April's Town Council Meeting. Special Thanks to Bill Seaman for his hard work preparing for the Awards Ceremony, for Joe Standaert and his wonderful photography skills and for Montreat Landcare for their year round efforts in preserving our Tree Canopy!!
Conversation with the Commissioners
Remember on the first Thursday of every month, prior to the Agenda Meeting, the Town Council will hold an open forum for anyone who has questions or concerns. There was a great turnout on March 3rd. The Council hopes to see more people on April 7th.
Montreat Gate Update
On Monday, February 22nd a truck hit the gate but thankfully no one was injured. A structural engineer has recommended that the Gate remain closed until repairs can be made. Please use caution when using the detour around the Gate.
The Town of Montreat welcomes Commissioner Kent Otto. He was sworn into office at the January Board of Commissioners meeting last night.
The Town of Montreat welcomes Mayor Tim Helms, Commissioner Bill Gilliland, Commissioner Kitty Fouche and Town Clerk Angie Murphy. They were all sworn into office at the December Board of Commissioners meeting last night.
First Release of the "Lari" Beetle
The Town of Montreat is pleased to report that the first successful release of 125 Laricobius nigrinus "Lari" beetles was made on September 25th at the Post Office in Montreat. The beetles arrived by FedEx overnight shipment from Tacoma, Washington and were released by John Johnson and Rusty Frank. A couple thousand beetles are expected to be released over the next year to help stop the spread of the hemlock woolly adelgid within Montreat. The release of the beetles are part of a "Save Our Hemlocks" campaign sponsored and administered through Montreat Landcare. Funding for the project was made possible by generous donations from Montreat residents and institutions. Support and partial funding was provided through the Hemlock Restoration Initiative, sponsored by the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. For more information on the Program, visit www.savehemlocksnc.org.
The Board of Commissioners held a Special Meeting on Tuesday, August 11, 2015 to discuss the sanitation services offered by the Town of Montreat. The presentation given by Mayor Letta Jean Taylor can be found here. The Board of Commissioners will continue their discussion of sanitation services at their September Board Meeting on Thursday, September 10th at 7:00 p.m. in the Walkup Building, 300 Community Center Circle in Montreat.
Compactor Site Changes
Beginning June 9, 2015, the Town will alter the operation of the Compactor Site located behind the Town Services Building in order to help accommodate the sanitation disposal needs of our residents and visitors as well as to ease unauthorized use and illegal dumping at the site. On that day, the compactor site will be open for a fee, with revised hours of operation and staffed by an attendant. The site attendant will collect your bags, manage the fee payment and lock box, and place the bags inside the compactor for you. Revised hours of operation and the new fee schedule can be found here. No changes are being made to the existing curbside or backdoor garbage collection schedule.
Proposed 2015-2016 Fiscal Year Budget
The proposed 2015-2016 Fiscal Year Budget was presented to the Board and public on May 21. There will be a public hearing to receive comments on the budget document on June 11 at 7 p.m. or as soon thereafter as possible in the Walkup Building. Print copies are available in the Town Services Office upon request.
2015-2020 Capital Improvements Plan Adopted
Sales Tax Redistribution Proposals - SB 369 and SB 608
Senator Terry Van Duyn gave a brief summary of SB 369 and SB 608 during the April 9, 2015 Town Council Meeting. These bills, currently under discussion in the NC Senate, propose to distribute all sales tax revenues on a per capita basis at the state and local level. Buncombe County municipalities currently receive these distributions on an ad valorem basis. For Montreat, the loss in local sales tax revenues under the currently proposed bill language is estimated at $223,605, a 67% decrease. The Town will monitor the status of these bills very closely throughout this legislative session. Citizens are encouraged to contact Senator Van Duyn, Senator Tom Apodaca, Representative John Ager, Representative Susan C. Fisher, Representative Brian Turner, and Governor Pat McCrory to express their concerns and comments about these proposed bills.
Online Credit/Debit Card Payment Now Available
Credit or debit card payments for a number of Town-related bills and fees can now be made online here, or in person at the Town Services Office.
If you see a suspicious person or vehicle, burning of leaves or brush, a possible water leak or something that needs attention quickly but is not life-threatening, please call the 24-hour non-emergency police and fire dispatch numbers listed below. This service covers both the Town of Black Mountain and Montreat, so don't hang up thinking you've gotten the wrong number. Refrigerator magnets with these numbers are available in the Town Services Office. Your calls are welcomed and are important.
P. O. Box 423 | Montreat, NC 28757 | P: 828.669.8002 | F: 828.669.3810