Williams-Blake Takes Helm

Delegates at the Municipal Association of South Carolina's Annual Meeting unanimously elected Octavia Williams-Blake, councilmember of the City of Florence, as the Association's president. She will serve a one-year term.

Octavia Williams-Blake elected president of the Municipal Association of SC
Florence Councilmember Octavia Williams-Blake, the newly elected president of the Municipal Association, said cities make social engagement possible through the delivery of services such as police protection and recreation opportunities.

Elections took place on Friday, July 20, at the Association's Annual Meeting. When asked about her vision for South Carolina hometowns, here is what Williams-Blake had to say:

How are cities and towns influencing positive change in South Carolina?

Cities and towns are a concentration of talent, people and economic power that provide a place for the evolution of the arts, culture, and economic and technical innovation. They are centers of ideas and information. They are drivers of economic development.

Residents and businesses demand a level of services that ensure safe and protective environments, supporting retail and services that are essential for the growth and development of business and industry. Cities are characteristically the regional "drivers" that result in partnerships among the state, local agencies and private entities bringing in greater economic development opportunities.

Cities of all sizes continue to focus on development patterns centered around creating interesting and vibrant shared community spaces. These shared community spaces are helping to reshape downtowns and neighborhoods and improve community image. These spaces bring people together, create an environment for innovation, promote diversity and foster a place that binds us together.

How is the delivery of city services related to a successful South Carolina?

City services are extremely important to the overall success of South Carolina. And every city identifies the services its residents need and determines the best way to deliver them. By providing many of  the essential services such as police, fire, codes enforcement, planning, recreation, and economic development partnerships, cities create a place for social engagement — churches, shops, community venues and schools — and foster the arts and cultural development, along with interesting retail, restaurants and fun things to do.

What do you see as the biggest opportunities facing cities and towns?

Cities and towns — urban and rural, small and large — have the opportunity to support positive legislative initiatives that move our state forward. We have the opportunity to extend to our smaller communities many of the economic successes that our larger cities have recently experienced. Cities and towns are the perfect place to address many changing market dynamics such as online sales, local taxing restrictions and reductions in state revenues that are affecting funding for traditional and new needs.