Hilton Head, chamber of commerce contract to be revealed this week

The public will get its first glimpse this week at a draft of the highly anticipated contract between Hilton Head Island and its designated marketing organization, the Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce.

Town leaders have closely guarded details of the proposed contract, which is designed to better track how the chamber spends public dollars, but they now want residents' input on the parameters of the possible agreement.

Town Council intends to vote on the contract at its next meeting on Nov. 17, and council members said Tuesday they want concerned residents to bring their comments and questions to the council then.

"This is such a topical issue; we want to give the public ample opportunity to review it," said councilman Bill Harkins, who serves on the Finance and Administrative Committee that designed the contract.

The contract could be made available as early as Wednesday, pending one more review by chamber attorneys, but it is expected before the end of the week, town manager Steve Riley said.

The Island Packet will publish the contract online at as soon as it is available.

Town and chamber leaders have discussed the potential contract behind closed doors for months and have only hinted at what it could include.

In the interim, Bennett, chamber board president Jay Wiendl and staunch chamber opponent Skip Hoagland have all traded barbs over the negotiations.

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