December 2017

A Note From Our Mayors

Author: David Bennett & Lisa Sulka | Photographer: Krisztian Lonyai

A Note from David Bennett
Season’s Greetings

During December, as the year wraps up, your Town Council has gift-giving on its mind. The presents are tied with Accommodations Tax “bows.” Though Council ultimately votes on the amounts and recipients, these funds are actually a gift to Hilton Head Island, delivered to us from our overnight visitors who’ve spent a night or more enjoying our island. Of course, in return for that gift (what’s December without returns?) we provide hospitality to over 2.5 million tourists a year.

With all the other lists we create this month, I want to itemize some of the organizations and celebrations that benefit from ATAX funding. But first, let’s recognize that legislation creating this gift-giving was born of the efforts of the esteemed South Carolina Representative from Beaufort County, the late Harriet Keyserling. She brought her passion for the arts and effective government into the public realm to secure a bright future for each. Upon her passing, U.S. Representative Jim Clyburn said: “She believed wholeheartedly in public service and served as a remarkable example of how one person can make a significant difference in their community. She was one of a kind. …’’ One of a kind—a fitting characterization of her extraordinary efforts.

Now the list. If you love art, live or still, loud or soft or somewhere in between, then there’s the Art League exhibits and the performances at the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina, the Choral Society and the Dance Theater. Offerings from Lean Ensemble, the Main Street Youth Theater and the Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra are certain to satisfy.

How about some fireworks? The Harbour Town Merchants Association, the Shelter Cove Harbour Company and Skull Creek make certain our skies light up at night, especially on the Fourth of July! And festivals and parades? The St. Patrick’s Day Parade, the David M. Carmines Memorial Foundation, the Hilton Head Island Recreation Association, Wine and Food, Inc., and the Native Island Business & Community organizations fill our calendars with unique opportunities to gather together—often around food.

Is history your passion? Do you love our museums? Then stop by and learn at the Gullah Museum, Mitchelville, the Coastal Discovery Museum and the Heritage Library. Kids of all ages love the Sandbox, our local children’s museum.

Looking for a timeless, classic car? Or boat? Or plane? Then attend the Concours d’Elegance. And if its venue gives you the urge to hit the links, then check out the Lowcountry Golf Course Owners Association or the First Tee, where you can play golf traditionally or throw a disc instead!

The Boys & Girls Club will entice you to pedal the island and beyond, and finally, the Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce makes certain that every day here in paradise is a “Chamber of Commerce Day.”
There’s even some money remaining for our town to provide fire and police services to ensure the safety of event guests. This December that may amount to about $1.4M.

So, when you are out and about this season, take the time to ask some of these organizations about the impact ATAX makes in their businesses, and by extension, our lives. And remember, life itself is a gift. Let us all use our own to have a positive impact on others.

Well, that’s a wrap! Happy December. See you next year!

___________________________

A Note from Lisa Sulka
Town Hall Renovations and Temporary Relocations

Bluffton Town Council unanimously approved a contract at its October 10 meeting to renovate Town Hall, located at 20 Bridge Street. The project includes renovating the existing structure, which currently houses Town Hall offices, the Charles E. Ulmer Auditorium and Calhoun Station. Construction on Town Hall is expected to begin in November and last approximately 10 months. During construction, Town Hall employees and assets will be temporarily relocated.

The majority of Town Hall staff, including the town manager, finance, growth management and engineering staff, have relocated to 98 Fording Island Road, which is the former Hampton Lake real estate office.

Bluffton Municipal Court, normally located at Town Hall (20 Bridge Street) has temporarily relocated to the Beaufort County Magistrate Court Building (4819 Bluffton Parkway, 2nd Floor) until further notice due to Town Hall’s scheduled renovations. Bluffton court staff members will continue to maintain normal business hours at Town Hall (20 Bridge Street), in a mobile unit behind the renovation site, accessible from Pritchard Street. However, if you need to report to court, please go to the Beaufort County Magistrate Court Building on Bluffton Parkway.

If a defendant chooses to pay a ticket versus appearing in court, there are three options:

Pay in person. Bluffton Town Hall, 20 Bridge Street. Office hours are Monday-Thursday, 8 a.m.-5: 30 p.m., or Fridays 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Office phone: (843) 706-4530; Fax: (843) 706-4503; or E-mail: court@townofbluffton.com. Please arrive at least 30 minutes before closing time.

Pay online. publicindex.sccourts.org/beaufort/onlinepayments

Pay by mail. Bluffton Municipal, Post Office Box 386, Bluffton, SC 29910
Bluffton business license staff members and Bluffton building permit and applications customer service staff members will also continue to maintain normal business hours at Town Hall (20 Bridge Street) in a mobile unit behind the renovation site, accessible from Pritchard Street.

Police substation, stormwater management division, and public works services will continue at their current locations: 1264 May River Road, 1261 May River Road and 2 Recreation Court, respectively.

As we recently celebrated Veterans Day, I want to extend sincere gratitude to all who have served and are serving our country. We are blessed to have you defend our country and continue to make sure we are protected and safe. Thank you.

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