Fort Mill Times

Tega Cay mayor uses YouTube to make case on communication

Sheppard
Sheppard

Communication in the City of Tega Cay needs to be the responsibility of both the residents and city leaders, said Mayor George Sheppard.

In a video posted to YouTube and the City of Tega Cay’s Facebook page Oct. 20, Sheppard said the city offers many avenues for residents to reach him and other personnel.

“I’m hearing that we don’t communicate with the residents of Tega Cay, but in my mind communication is a two-way street,” Sheppard says in the video.

“If you’re not talking back to us, we’re just talking at you. We need you to communicate with us.”

The video is a form of outreach that Sheppard said he has wanted to do as the city looks for different ways to share information. He said the city will be posting an ongoing video series updating residents on new happenings.

“We receive a lot of positive feedback from the vast majority of our residents, but there will always be those that say we need to do better,” he said. “I think we do an excellent job getting information out to the people, but we will always continue to look for ways in which we can improve.”

Sheppard said residents can reach city representatives through Tega Cay’s website, tegacay.org, which the city re-designed a year ago, spending nearly $10,000 to make it more user friendly and interactive. Updates are posted daily.

The city also has more than 1,900 followers on its Facebook page.

“1,900 is a lot, but it is not all of the city,” Sheppard said in the video.

Just around 2,400 of the more than 10,000 Tega Cay residents participate in the city’s Notify Me feature on the website, which allows residents to choose what topics they would like to receive automated updates on via e-mail and text messages, Sheppard said in the video.

“That number is really low,” he said.

The city has advertised the feature at City Council meetings, the city’s weekly newsletter, which is emailed out to more than 2,700 registered users, and in welcome packets for new residents, Sheppard said.

To learn new information or to voice concerns, residents can attend City Council meetings the third Monday of each month or watch them live on Comporium channel 115, Sheppard said. The meetings are also aired again three times a day at 7 a.m., 1 p.m. and 7 p.m.

The city, which also had its own app developed, launched its CodeRed system in September, which sends out automatic alert notifications on issues such as road closures, water main shutdowns and severe weather. Residents can sign up through the link on the city’s homepage.

Residents without internet or e-mail access are welcome to call City Council or staff, Sheppard said.

“Residents should stay connected with the various means of communication so that they know what is going on in their City,” he said. “We do our very best to make certain all of our information is available to our residents regardless of their means of access.”

The City of Tega Cay’s communication practices are typical of most government organizations, said Kevin Nichols, managing principal at Stark Lean Marketing Communications in Rock Hill. Stark Lean moved from its original office in Baxter Village earlier this year.

“Most government organizations will develop a communications plan that centers around transparency and proactive communications,” he said. “That proactive approach is the best way to curtail hearsay.”

Since Tega Cay is a small entity, town hall type meetings and digital communications are a good way to go, Nichols said.

He said the city would also benefit from surveying the community before and while implementing its communications strategy to measure its success.

Sheppard said the city did not do a survey, but does work to use the best avenues available.

“Our professional staff does an excellent job of keeping up with best management practices for communication in the industry,” he said.

“At the end of the day, the information is out there and readily available. If a person wants to know what’s going on, we make it very easy for them to have access to it.”

Want to see it?

Watch the video on the City of Tega Cay Council Meeting channel at youtube.com

  Comments