Beaufort News

Improved website one key to better communications, Beaufort City Council retreat finds

During the last day of its annual two-day retreat Weednesday, Beaufort City Council focused on the need for better communication among it, staff, boards and commissions and the public and brainstormed ways to ensure leaders and constituents are informed

"There's a consensus that we have to start with a central place for information, and that is a stronger website," Mayor Billy Keyserling said.

A city website overhaul is in progress, assistant city manager Shirley Hughes said, and is expected to be complete in about two months.

Council also discussed changing its meeting routine to include a monthly joint workshop with the Beaufort-Port Royal Metropolitan Planning Commission and the city's Redevelopment Commission.

Council gave the commissions charters last year. The meetings would provide a chance to check in on progress, get updates and offer help, members said.

Council currently holds two regular meetings a month to vote on agenda items and two informal workshops to discuss issues more deeply.

As proposed during the retreat, council would replace one of Beaufort's regular meetings with a joint workshop between it and the two commissions.

Keyserling said he expects more discussion on the issue at future workshops.

Other ideas discussed included sending out paper and electronic newsletters and televising city meetings.

Led by Virginia-based consultant Camille Wright Miller of The Virginia Group, the retreat kicked off Tuesday with updates from various city departments and concluded Wednesday with council looking at areas of opportunity in the coming year.

Members brainstormed topics such as providing services more efficiently, having a roundtable discussion with local nonprofit organizations on economic health and opportunities, looking at student housing in the area and searching for more federal grant and funding opportunities.

Miller will also lead the Redevelopment Commission's two-day retreat, which begins today and runs from 1 to 5 p.m.

The commission will also meet from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday.

Related stories from Hilton Head Island Packet