TOWN COUNCIL (l-r) John McCann, Bill Harkins, Kim Likins (mayor pro-tem), Mayor David Bennett, Marc Grant, Tom Lennox. David Ames
Your Town Council is comprised of unique individuals representing a diversity of Islanders. We came together this past November along with members of staff at a workshop that extended beyond its’ original schedule because of the magnitude of issues and opportunities faced by our community.
Key Priorities for 2018
- Hurricane Recovery: continue clean up and reconciliation of financial commitments.
- Visioning: continue process.
- Venue Committee: recommendations are forthcoming.
- Gullah Geechee: consider recommendations from Gullah-Geechee Land and Cultural Preservation Task Force.
- Workforce Development and Affordable Housing: consider recommendations from the Public Facilities and Public Planning Committee scheduled to be provided in February of 2018.
Bridge and Roads
- Regionalism: In order to define the purpose and impact from pursuing a regionalism effort the IGR Committee will compile and review an entire list of areas for regional efforts and craft a strategy and series of tactics to enact that strategy.
Key Priorities for 2017
- Visioning: Visioning for the Island’s future will be a major initiative for 2017. Under the leadership of the Town Council, with assistance from Town staff, a professional consultant, and augmented by the Vision Project Management Team, the community will embark upon an engaging initiative of planning for our Island’s future, which shall include the development of a vision statement and a detailed action plan with implementation strategies by year-end.
- Regionalization: Our Town depends upon satisfactory regional solutions to many critical issues. In 2017, the Intergovernmental & Public Safety Committee will work collectively with elected officials and administrators from neighboring municipalities, Beaufort County and the State of South Carolina to identify, define and pursue agreed upon goals and objectives. Prioritized, proposed goals and objectives shall be recommended to Town Council by March 31, 2017.
- Infrastructure: The Storm Water Plan from the County, including the fee arrangement/ schedule will be considered by the Town Council. Staff will review the report recently submitted by the Telecommunication Task Force and provide recommendations for Town Council consideration by year end. A Plan for the scheduling of private road improvements will have been accepted and adopted by Town Council on or before December 31, 2017. Staff has reviewed the Telecommunication Task Force’s Report and will provide its recommendations to Town Council soon.
- Culture and Arts Committee: The entertainment, arts, culture and heritage assets of the town will be elevated in 2017 by the formation of a new town citizen Culture and Arts Advisory committee and a full-time town staff position of a Culture and Arts Network Director. Their work will be supplemented by the on-going efforts of the Venue Committee who will make recommendations regarding potential future community culture and arts venue opportunities.
- Workforce Availability
Housing: Acknowledging that workforce availability continues to be an increasing problem for the Island, in 2017 the Public Planning Committee will form a task force that will thoroughly study this issue and make recommendations to Town Council regarding viable solutions prior to year-end.
Transportation: Town Staff and the Public Planning Committee will work with the Low Country Transportation Authority (LRTA) to develop a plan by the end of 2017 to implement three public transportation services. These are: 1) a service to meet the commuting needs of Hilton Head employees that live off-island, 2) a service to offer Coligny beach users with remote parking and a transportation alternative to their personal vehicles, and 3) an inter-island shuttle between Shelter Cove and the Coligny area. It is anticipated that this plan will identify one of these services that will begin by May 2018.
Key Priorities for 2016
- Arts and Cultural Planning: Consider the Final Report from the Task Force, scheduled for either late 2015 or early 2016. Notable item includes the Town providing funding for hiring full-time staff to oversee Arts and Cultural planning within the community.
- Sewer: Move forward with the 5 year plan as presented and the existing policy of sewer for those who want it. Continue partnership with the Hilton Head Public Service District; which shall continue to acquire easements through donations. In the future, it may become necessary to revisit the voluntary nature of the program.
- Circle to Circle: The Task Force has engaged the services of a Traffic Engineering firm.
- Economic Development: The Hilton Head Island Economic Development Corporation will present additional information for the Town Council to consider regarding the four tools needed to achieve economic development goals: 1) Real Estate Solutions; 2) Business License/Fee Incentive Program; 3) Broadband Program for HHI Businesses; and 4) Funding for Economic Development Programs.
- Visioning: A Request for Proposal (RFP) will be issued to engage the services of a consulting firm to coordinate the Visioning process in 2016. Items of particular concern to the Mayor and Town Council to be incorporated into the process include: A) Composition of the Task Force; and B) Community outreach methods to solicit public input from the various population segments in the community.
We Hope You Will Participate
How is it that these priorities will become attainable action items? Your mayor, Town Council and staff are committed to these endeavors. But your participation is needed. Look for upcoming workshops, taskforces and public-private collaborations as your opportunity to be an asset to your community. Communicate your thoughts and input to me at DavidB@hiltonheadislandsc.gov or speak to your Town Council representative.
This administration has already established two new Town Council Committees; the Finance and Administrative and Community Services committees and council members, John McCann and Kim Likins have been appointed to chair them. The first committee will be responsible for detailed financial oversight and establishing goals for and reviewing the performance of the Town Manager. The Community Services committee will work to develop the full potential of Hilton Head’s arts and cultural organizations. It will also identify affordable and work force housing opportunities.
Challenging Bottleneck — The bottleneck at Sea Pines Circle (above) negatively
impacts both residents and visitors, and is a significant challenge to any improvements
planned for the South End of the Island. This is a priority.