The new board of aldermen looked a lot like the old one during the board's Dec. 11 meeting, except with a change at the top.
Mayor Michael Sobol, flanked by the five aldermen, sat in the seat he had occupied for four years. Minutes later Don Collins, who defeated Sobol and Weston Hall in November’s mayoral race, was sworn into the office.
Alderman Ryan Stone, who won a second term in the election, recognized Sobol for his service to the town.
"C. Michael Sobol is hereby acknowledged as having been a good, loyal and faithful public service to the Town of Black Mountain," Stone read from the proclamation. "This proclamation expresses the deep appreciation on behalf of the citizens of Black Mountain for the valuable services he has provided the town."
Buncombe County Clerk of Superior Court Steve Cogburn administered the oath of office to Stone and Jeremie Konegni, winners of the board’s two open seats. The board then filled Collin's alderman's seat with Carlos Showers, who chose not to run for the alderman seat he occupied. Showers was nominated by Stone, who minutes earlier had presented Showers with a proclamation recognizing his service to the town.
Konegni attempted to make another nomination, but Collins pointed out that there was currently a nomination being considered. The board voted 4-0 to appoint Showers to fill the vacancy for the remaining two years of the term.
Showers, elected to the board in 2009 2013, announced in July that he would not seek a third term. He cited a need for “new and younger leadership for the town.” Near the end of last week's meeting, Showers expressed his gratitude for being asked to remain on the board.
“I truly appreciate the confidence this board has shown in me by asking me to stay on for the next two years,” he said. “It took a lot of arm twisting, I’ll tell you that. I was retiring professionally at the end of this year and was planning on riding off in the sunset. But there a lot of good things happening in this town that I’d like to be a part of.”
The new board’s first action was to appoint a vice mayor, a position it appoints every two years (Stone was the previous vice mayor). Alderman Larry Harris nominated Maggie Tuttle, the twice-elected alderwoman who has served on the board since 2011. The vote carried 5-0.
“I’m counting on you staying healthy and wise,” Tuttle said jokingly to Collins.
Following a five-minute recess, the board appointed town representatives to various regional councils on which aldermen and town staff serve (Black Mountain Center for the Arts, Black Mountain-Swannanoa Chamber of Commerce Executive Board, Land of Sky Regional Council Board of Directors, French Broad Metropolitan Planning Organization Board of Directors, French Broad Planning Organization Technical Coordinating Committee, Metropolitan Sewer District Board of Directors and the Asheville Regional Housing Consortium).
The aldermen then appointed members of the public to fill vacancies on the planning board, zoning board of adjustments and greenway commission.
The board set 6 p.m. Monday, Jan. 8 as a public hearing to approve a resolution to purchase property at 304 Black Mountain Ave., the current site of Carolina Foam Fabric and Home Decor which the board in November voted unanimously to buy for $2 million.