City about to get social with development of Facebook page

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By MIKE EDDLEMAN

The City of Liberty Hill is set to take the social media plunge after approving $2,700 to set up, lay the groundwork, and set policies for a city Facebook page.

Melissa Day, the owner of Malted Grains restaurant downtown, who has a background in marketing, was selected for the task of getting the city’s page up and running.

“I did have a life before the cafe,” she said. “I was in marketing and communications probably before digital became a phrase, definitely before social media became what it is today.”

In her presentation to the Council, Day talked about the advantages of a Facebook presence.

“Most of us probably have a social media or Facebook page,” she said. “It has the potential to capture more businesses and residents to come to Liberty Hill and discover this great town.”

Low cost is a benefit she also highlighted.

“It’s relatively low in terms of marketing expenses,” Day said. “It is actually free to open up a Facebook page, but if you want to develop ads it is a pretty low way to get some of those marketing dollars out there.”

The vote to establish the program passed by a 3-1 vote with Wendell McLeod opposing the measure and Liz Branigan absent from the meeting.

Day’s role will be to help set up the free page, establish guidelines for use and train staff.

“The Facebook page, although I would help build it, would be controlled in the city offices,” she said. “The brand and the voice is where I would step in and help city officials kind of figure out what the voice of Facebook wants to be. We do want to develop a voice that is representative of this town as who we are. We want to have a personality with the voice. I want to encourage staff training, which is something I would help with. There are so many free training tools out there.”

She said it would take four to six weeks to get it up and running, which includes a three-month marketing plan.

The Council selected four individuals – City Secretary Barbara Zwernemann, Administrative Assistant Nancy Sawyer, City Administrator Greg Boatright and Mayor Rick Hall to serve as administrators and editors of the page.

Council member Ron Rhea said he liked the idea, but cautioned that it must be kept up for it to be an effective tool.

“I do know if we don’t keep the engine fresh, then it becomes dormant and dead and then it becomes a waste of money,” Rhea said.

It is unclear how the page will be branded in relation to the City’s new logo and branding efforts.

The City and Economic Development Corporation joined to spend $32,000 this spring with Freach Design, and in May adopted a new logo and tagline “Freedom to Grow”.

“We’re probably looking at four to six weeks of getting it all set up and all that stuff done, so hopefully by that time we will have our new logos and our new branding material all released so we can put that out as one of our first things in getting that branding all tied together for the City,” Hall said.

Diversified Planning Contract
The Council voted unanimously to extend the professional services agreement with Diversified Planning and Development (DP&D) through Dec. 1, 2018, at a total cost not to exceed $75,000.

Diversified Planning handles project management for the city, and the scope of services includes overall project management, work with consultants, contracted engineers, and attendance at city meetings to provide regular updates on projects in progress and upcoming.

Water tower paint color
The Council revisited the color choice issue for the downtown water tower one more time Monday, when it was learned the contractor was concerned the originally selected color would chalk easily and look faded very quickly.

The Council considered a number of other options, settling on “Skyward” — a white earth tone — as the new selection. Work is currently underway to get the shroud lifted and painting process going.

Donation
The Council agreed to again contribute $2,000 to Opportunities for Williamson and Burnet Counties in support of its Meals on Wheels program.

Lauren McAndrews, Grants and Development Administrator said the contribution was critical to meeting a local need.

“I just wanted to invite the community, council members and the mayor, everyone who cares about this town, to know some of the people we’re helping here,” she said, addressing the Council. “We deliver fresh-cooked meals Monday through Friday. They’re prepared locally and delivered by volunteers. We also do local Headstart, we do community services, which is utility assistance, case management, job readiness, all trying to transition people out of poverty.”

She added that it is important to not forget the need even as the community grows.

“In Liberty Hill, one of the things it has going for it is a lot of growth, and a lot of new homes, but we also have poverty and that’s just not seen every day,” she said.

Executive session
While no action was taken, the Council spent more than an hour in executive session on issues of real property and “consultation with city attorney regarding legal issues with police personnel and procedures.”

After being discussed in multiple meetings over the last six weeks, the Council has yet to address the question publicly of whether Police Chief Maverick Campbell should report to and receive direct supervision from City Administrator Greg Boatright or Mayor Rick Hall

Future items
The Council’s next meeting July 9 is shaping up to be one packed with issues.

A presentation scheduled to be made regarding the 2018 Liberty Hill Sculpture Festival, in connection with a discussion on a request for funding from the City, was postponed Monday, with Hall saying the group was unable to get the presentation together in time for the meeting. Hall suggested it would appear again on the July 9 agenda. The festival is scheduled Oct. 13.

Continued discussion of Phase 2 of the drainage master plan is also likely to be on the agenda, when possible fee structures may be discussed.

Those in the negotiations hope to bring back a draft Memorandum of Understanding July 9 between the City and Liberty Hill ISD regarding the partnership between the two entities on a school resource officer program.

Mike@LHIndependent.com

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