November 2015

A Note From Our Mayors

Author: David Bennett & Lisa Sulka

A Note from David Bennett
A Season to Give Thanks

November brings to mind Thanksgiving. In Indiana, where I grew up, fall is marked by a noticeable change in the season and thanksgiving for the harvest. Here on Hilton Head Island, it is no different. You have surely noticed and perhaps welcomed the onset of cooler temperatures and shorter days. But unlike Indiana, which has a significant agricultural harvest, our island’s vintage is derived by reaping the fruits of our fine citizens’ diligent and creative labors. And it is indeed most prolific.

For instance, my family and I recently enjoyed exceptional performances by the Hilton Head Choral Society and the Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra, each a product of the ardor, practice and persistence of its members, leaders and supporters. From the packed audiences of about 900 attendees each, I believe many islanders would agree. These are just two of a plentiful crop of autumn events, resulting from the sowing of seeds of passion for the arts, history and culture of Hilton Head Island. Space will not allow for a complete listing: theatre, art, music, history, ethnic and cultural festivals and sporting events abound.

This season of thanks also makes one mindful of the many unique blessings that we’ve received, which do not result from any of our own labors. We’ve all been blessed with life and purpose and the shear natural beauty of our island respite. We enjoy a pleasant climate, (a storm averted), sweeping beaches, marshes teeming with wildlife and vegetation and panoramic, breathtaking sunrises and sunsets to frame it all. The labors of our forefathers gave us freedom and democracy and the lives of our ancestors have formed each of ours.

Thanksgiving is also a time to reflect upon what is past and look forward with hope and anticipation to what is yet to come. On your behalf, your Town Councilors have worked painstakingly on important initiatives such as bringing to bear the full capability of the arts in our community through the Community Services Committee and making sanitary sewer service available to everyone who desires it. I am very thankful for their help and efforts.

While fall is typically marked by harvest, your Town Council will also be planting seeds for our community’s future by conducting its annual planning workshop this month. I am excited that, thanks to the efforts of your new Finance and Administrative Committee, we will utilize a fresh format and a newly selected facilitator for the session this year. Many of the initiatives that will be discussed will determine what may be reaped for generations to come.

I would encourage you to talk with your council member about your expectations and ideas for our island. I am grateful for a town with the heart and willingness to look ahead with optimism. No doubt, we have so many opportunities before us, and I, for one, continue to believe we can do better. Again this year, I will promulgate my view that our important annual summit should be conducted here in our community.

On behalf of the Town of Hilton Head Island, your Town Council, and the Bennett Family, Happy Thanksgiving to all and best wishes and blessings for a plentiful and safe holiday. 

A Note from Lisa Sulka
Customer Service Center

Over the last several months, the town’s customer service center has undergone a number of changes in order to better serve our residents and businesses. Our goals were to make town services available online at any time of day, and to provide the best customer service possible through this interaction.

Earlier this year, we began using a new permit management software that allows customers to apply and pay for several permits online. Currently, you can apply online for several common permits such as signs, water heater and HVAC replacements, and irrigation systems. With this same program, you can request, track, and manage any permit you have active with the Town of Bluffton. This saves you and town staff time in managing your permits, allowing for quicker turnaround and inspection responses.

We have also changed how we communicate with our customers regarding the status of their application. In doing so, we set goals to respond to your permit application or inspection request in a timely manner. If it takes us longer than the goal we set, we will let you know that it is taking longer, why, and when you can expect to hear from us. The result is a more predictable service for all of our customers.

Finally, we have several new faces in the customer service center. Jenna Marstiller is our new customer service manager; Marcia Hunter is a new customer service representative; and Brad Mole is a new customer service representative/business specialist. Mole’s role is a redefined position that focuses on business assistance and communication. He works with new and expanding businesses within the Town of Bluffton to assist in providing them the resources and answers they need to be successful. Additionally, he monitors and communicates with our customers regarding the status of their permits and inspections. 

??For more information on the town’s customer service center, please visit online at or call (843) 706-4522.??

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