"Transparency" in government is all the rage now, but providing timely information to the public and the media is nothing new to us. The Town of Hilton Head Island employs numerous and various means to inform our residents about our goings on. In my mind, we have been transparent for a long time, but we are now employing new means to deliver public information. Transparency as it applies to the town kind of reminds me of the "green" and "sustainability" movement. As these recently became buzz words, some would have you believe that was the time the town first embraced "green and sustainability" policies and adopted laws to protect our natural resources. Nothing could be farther from the truth. We were green and sustainable before it was cool, and the same can be said for pipelining information to the public.
We have a strong track record of being open and available to the media. Additionally, our current Public Information Program and potential use of social media can be found by visiting our web page at www.hiltonheadislandsc.gov/government/publicinfomemo.pdf . Please look at it, and I am confident you will be impressed with the amount of information we offer to residents and others. In an effort to enhance our existing Public Information Program, town council has asked the town manager to focus on social media strategies. We have added a financial dashboard page to our website and will be posting quarterly financial information in the coming months. Televising town council meetings has been discussed by council the last six months on a couple of occasions, and we are awaiting a recommendation from the town manager and his staff on broadcast options. Preliminarily, we have a few options. There are cheap ways to video stream meetings on a web page but the production quality would not be first class. We could create our own broadcast service like Beaufort County; however, the cost of creating such a program is probably not justified by the benefit. We could contract with Beaufort County and pay them to televise our council meetings. Beaufort County has created a very capable and robust County Channel program and they have indicated a willingness to work with the town to our mutual benefit. We'll see what town council recommends.One of the wonderful things about being a mayor or council member anywhere is that we have the opportunity to accomplish great things. On Hilton Head Island, thanks to your support, this mayor and town council are doing just that. We are proud we have been and will be conveying to you the value of what we as a community accomplish together.