April 2014

A Word From Our Mayors

Author: Drew Laughlin & Lisa Sulka | Photographer: photography by Anne

To TIF or not to TIF
You may have read in the local newspaper or town hall newsletter about Coligny area revitalization. You may also have read about Tax Increment Financing or its acronym “TIF.” Before your eyes glaze over at the mere mention of a term, let me have a shot at making TIF understandable and real.

TIF isn’t a term to describe a quarrel with your spouse or significant other. (That would be a tiff, with two f’s.) A TIF is an area designated by the town that needs revitalization. We established three island TIF areas years ago. These three areas are taxing districts for Beaufort County, a Public Service District, and the Beaufort County School District. About 15 years ago, these districts, at the town’s request, chose to give up revenue that would have accrued to them so that the town could use that money to build projects/infrastructure that would then stimulate quality development. Once we improve conditions in these districts, property values rise; and once the TIF period ends, these three taxing districts begin to collect their share of revenue again. Our current TIF has dramatically increased property values.

So, you’re saying “good for the tax districts but what’s in it for me?” That is a fair question deserving an answer. A TIF is not a tax increase. The town recently sought a TIF extension from the three districts because we have not completed all the improvements we need to accomplish. All districts, thankfully, agreed, meaning that soon, you will see the continuation of the Hilton Head Island Renaissance!

In the Coligny area, we are planning more road and pedestrian movement improvements, a destination community park and playground, surface parking, children’s museum, and streetscape improvements. We are also working on the re-establishment of a USCB campus with Osher Lifelong Learning on Pope Avenue.

In the area of the new Shelter Cove Towne Centre, we have plans for the Chaplin Linear Park, which will provide a unique opportunity for recreation, environmental observation, and environmental and historical education for island residents and visitors. The linear park will connect the Shelter Cove Community Park and the existing Veterans Memorial Park on Broad Creek to the existing Chaplin Park on the Atlantic Ocean. Through an integrated system of boardwalks, observation piers and platforms, pedestrian bridges, waterfront promenades, and multi-purpose trails, users will experience the natural environment, including the creek, marsh, maritime forest, folly, beach, and the ocean.
We’re not using TIF money to build new town halls. We are spending these dollars to make life here the absolute best, highest quality we can for residents and visitors. Many of these improvements will provide meaningful experiences, will help our business community, and make our award-winning community an even more special place.

You see, TIF means a better place for us all.

Don Ryan Center for Innovation
At the Don Ryan Center for Innovation, we talk a lot about the broader vision of diversifying the economy and the long-range implications of what we are working towards. We thought it would be helpful to discuss the actual companies that are in the Center. We have already graduated seven companies. The following are still in the program working towards that goal.

Surface Scientific: markets Bacterm, an industry-exclusive antimicrobial coating. When the product is applied to any surface, it becomes self-sanitizing. Germs, bacteria and dangerous microbes cannot survive. Bacterm is a permanent epoxy coating that is highly infused with micro-copper flakes. Efficacy tests conducted by the University of South Carolina School of Medicine prove a 90 percent kill rate within 10 minutes of contact.

CERAS: is a clean energy rapid-assembly building construction system. The structure provides safe, eco-friendly, cost effective and easy to assemble shelter to anyone anywhere in the world, delivering and storing clean off-grid power and water. The company wants to bring to market an Eco-Friendly platform for the housing and small building industry. The construction system will eliminate the need for access to conventional pre-existing infrastructure, utilities and prove that a desirable, carbon-neutral, eco-sensitive lifestyle is both sustainable and economically viable.

mobiPET: sells the world’s first photo Amber alert for missing pets. It is the first ever security/recovery system for pets utilizing patented mobile image recognition technology. The pet owner purchases a pet ID tag from his or her local vet, shelter or boarder, and registers through cell phone or computer. If a pet goes missing, the owner texts the word LOST to mypet@agm.tw. A photo alert and owner information goes out by e-mail to all animal shelters, vets, and boarders within a 30-mile radius and by text to all registered neighbor’s cell phones within a two-mile radius of where the pet went missing.

U Auto FixIt: is a brand of do-it-yourself full-service self-repair facilities for the automobile sector. The company’s business addresses the needs of customers desiring to do their own work but needing tools and infrastructure to perform a broader range of repairs. If the customer would like some help performing the work, or just wants to learn from an ASE certified mechanic while they watch the repair, U Auto Fixit offers those services as well. The company is targeting 30 locations in the southeastern United States.

Page1 Media: specializes in video production and video SEO (search engine optimization) for businesses of all types and sizes looking to build brand awareness and increase their Google page ranking through the effective use of online video. Services are geared to meet the online video needs of many businesses by helping them develop an effective and timely Internet video and marketing strategy.

Center for Medical Excellence: trains physicians to think more about the business side of medicine. CME trains the physicians on how to deliver quality patient services, improve patient outcomes and satisfaction, and increase operational efficiencies while assuring increased revenues and compliance management. CME is the only company in the area offering detailed consulting services and training to small medical providers.

Elongator: is developing an extension for a truck or vehicle with a cargo bed. This enables oversized loads to be secured and stable, minimizing hazards associated with carrying such loads. The extension is integrated into the tailgate. This is one of those “slap your head” inventions; when you see it, you wonder why no one else has thought about it. The product is already patented, and there are multiple applications and spinoffs.

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