Below is a condensed version of the Communications Committee final report to the Town Council
We suggest that the Town Council use these ideas as a guide in establishing better and improved communications with the community.
The potential magnitude and technical aspects of this endeavor may require the Town to hire or contract a “Media” qualified person to implement, maintain, organize and oversee all functions of communications.
************** We submit the following only as suggestions: *******************
A. Internet - The Town’s Internet Web Site
- An improved page for Town Events
- A Library page for informative, downloadable documents such as the Charrettes and
the Town Charter.
- A page for Press Releases
- An improved page for useful Links
- Information regarding subject of workshops in notices of workshops
- A summary of Council Meeting agendas on website, with hyperlinks to more
detailed PDF files.
- A method of “Opt-in” to or “Opt-out” from any direct mail, e-mail notices,
newsletter, or other forms of communications.
- Information on “going green” and how to do it
- A web site search bar
- A page targeting non-resident web site users. (Town statistics, commercial and
residential information, current events, etc.)
- A page for Rumor Control and/or Q&A
- A page for news articles of interest – an example is the recent possible loss of bus
- A “suggestion box” – web site design changes, Town needs & ideas.
- A citizen’s Forum
- Provide a summary of “why an ordinance is being considered” in plain language.
- Utilize video streaming technology (web cam) to “live broadcast” events such as council meetings, “town hall” meetings, and/or “fireside chats”. Archive the broadcasts so that they can be downloaded or viewed on-line at a later date.
17. Explore and utilize new and future Internet technologies to improve
communications between residents and the Town. Twitter – Facebook –
18. An Internet email system should be utilized for three levels of
information distribution: A. General notifications (council meeting
dates, committee meetings, etc.), B. Special announcements (office
closure, Founders Day, etc.), C. Emergency
announcements (disaster assistance information, etc.) The Internet email
system must include a user “opt-in” and “opt-out” feature for each level.
B. Format of Town Council Meetings
19. Include a brief preamble of “how the meeting works” prior to the
20. Re-format the agenda to allow items that require public input (second
readings, etc.) to appear earlier in the meeting, and other items (first
readings, resolutions, consent, reports) later in the meeting to facilitate
21. Require three hearings (two with public input required) instead of two
to allow more time for
C. Public Signage
22. Electronic signage should avoid “tackiness”, and adhere to any and all
23. The Town should prohibit commercial bus shelter and bus bench ads
if and when possible or feasible.
24. Implement Town standards for bus bench and bus shelter ads and
require Town approval of content.
25. The Town should install bus bench or bus shelter informative and
useful signage, such as a Town map with “you are here” markers.
26. Historic Marker erected on Old Cutler Road to promote the history
of that road and the History of the Town of Cutler Bay.
27. Install fixed electronic sign(s). The location of these sign(s) should
be decided after a comprehensive study, including traffic counts,
and specifically traffic usage by Cutler Bay residents. For safety
concerns, sign(s) should not be placed at intersections.
28. Evaluate the use of mobile electronic signage where appropriate.
29. Ask merchants, specifically food supermarkets, to voluntarily host
electronic signage in windows, on their premises.
30. Electronic signage should contain information of immediate
pertinence. Be informative, yet brief (such as “Council Meeting
Tonight”), and accompanied by reference to the Town’s web site
address (such as “See http://www.CutlerBay-fl.gov”).
31. The Town should use the Town billboard to promote the Town’s
32. Evaluate practicality and feasibility of replacing street signs with
those that are community distinctive.
33. Promote the Town’s website address on every form of signage and
each form of communication.
D. Public Presentations
34. Schedule Public Meetings other than Town Council meetings.
Two types of presentations are recommended: 1. Presentations
by Council, staff, or other speakers presenting news or other
information with little or no public input. Example: the “State of
the Town” presentation, 2. “Town Hall”, or “Question and
Answer” sessions with participation by both Town and residents.
3. “Public Comment” sessions, where the residents can engage in
“Open House Sessions with Council”, and express concerns
and opinions on particular issues.
35. Individual council members should schedule meetings within
their district area at a common
place and/or issue individual newsletters for distribution to
their appointed district.
36. Staff, in addition to being responsive to requests to attend civic
or other organized meetings, should actively seek such
E. Print Media
37. Issue Press Releases to publicize important events.
38. Provide Police Department with an information “package” to
distribute during their interactions with the residents.
39. Publish a Town Newsletter, distributed quarterly or as
40. Ensure vendors utilize “green” materials and policies.
41. Insert the Town’s newsletter into the Miller Community Newspaper.
F. Feedback from the Public
42. More frequent Town Hall Meetings on sensitive or controversial issues.
43. Utilize surveys and other methods to receive feedback and determine citizen’s wishes and
44. Utilize surveys and other methods to rate Town performance.
45. Hand out schedules, notices, and opinion surveys during Council Meetings and workshops.
G. Direct Mail
46. Use Direct Mail to reach out and engage citizens in community affairs and events as
47. Include a method to “opt-out” and/or “opt-in” in each and every mailing, including the
48. Utilize the “non-profit” status of the Cutler Bay Foundation to reduce cost of mailings.
49. Continue to mail Town Newsletter quarterly.
50. Distribute Town Issues or actions through established civic organizations.
51. Use “mail-in” ballots whenever possible.
52. Distribute literature door-to-door. Use volunteers, city workers, and/or police during their
53. TV/Radio ads should include reference to the Town’s Internet web site.
54. TV/Radio ads be used to market regional events, such as an art festival, that would be held in
55. Promote community events in the after-hours recorded script on the Town’s telephone
number. This is not a recommendation for an automated receptionist.
56. Explore and utilize new telephone technologies, such as text messaging.
57. Implement a “robo calling” system.
J. Other Comments, Ideas, and Suggestions
58. Use “Plain Language” in all Town Communications.
59. Make Town Communications Bi-lingual.
60. Utilize more frequent usage of the citizen’s advisory committee system to encourage public