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Carolina Beach Councilman Requests New Website; Public Outreach

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CAROLINA BEACH - Carolina Beach Town Councilman Bob Lewis expressed a desire at the Council's May 11, meeting for a new Town website and improved public information outreach.
Lewis explained, "As part of what Steve's been talking about... we'd like to create a new line item in the budget. That would be setting aside $10,000 for marketing and creative for the Town. In that process, here's what we'd use it for. Number one, would be upgrade and update the current website and establish a social media presence... all in the format of trying to communicate out to the public what's going on."
Lewis said the Town could consider hiring a freelance writer to author content for the website. He said, "Talk to the Town Manager, maybe talk to the Council, directors, and be able to put content on the website at to be very easy for the residents to pick up on and understand what's happening in our community."
Lewis explained, "Also, contact Beach TV, and see if those guys would at least come in and do interviews every month" with the Mayor, council members and Town Manager, "And talk about an overview where we are trying to go and what we're trying to do and here's what we're trying to accomplish."
Lewis said local media only reaches so many people and covers certain topics but, "This would be our way of pushing out information to the general public and let them see it in various formats."
Councilman Steve Shuttleworth explained, "There ought to be a way to get reimbursed by the TDA because we're marketing the Town."
The County TDA (Tourism Development Authority) holds revenues generated by room occupancy taxes in Carolina Beach that can be reimbursed to the Town for marketing and promotion geared towards putting more heads on beds.
Shuttleworth explained the Town Manager and Mayor have said they aren't comfortable writing informational columns to local media. Shuttleworth and Lewis both often write a column called, "View of a Councilman" which appears on page 2-A of the Island Gazette.
Shuttleworth said, "I really think when it comes to beach nourhishment or a capital plan or the little park up there on Canal Drive... if we can get out in front of the discussion at least people understand what we are doing rather than watching a council meeting two weeks after it happens on TV."
Owens agreed the Town's website needs upgrading. He said, "It can be a huge asset" to the Town by providing public information in an expedient manner. The neighboring Town of Kure Beach recently approved spending $16,200 to hire a company to redesign their website. The project is planned for completion later this summer.