Technology is providing a new way for Holly Hill residents and their town government to easily and quickly communicate with each other.

The town council approved a resolution on Monday, April 1, to enter into an agreement with a Utah-based private company called TextMyGov.

“This is a third way of communications to reach you in real time,” Mayor Billy Chavis said. The other two are the town’s website and its Facebook page.

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TextMyGov can be used by anyone who has a smartphone that is capable of sending and receiving text messages.

Citizens can use the service to report problems with garbage pickup, water leaks, potholes, power outages, non-working streetlights, missing signs, and more.

South Carolina’s Insurance Reserve Fund has paid a man and woman each $250,000 as a settlement following an encounter with police outside of Holly Hill on Aug. 2, 2020, according to Rep. Justin T. Bamberg.

They can also request information on utility bill payments, laws and policies, and more.

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Town officials can use TextMyGov to send out messages, either to the citizenry at large or to specific neighborhoods.

A suspect sought in a fatal February shooting in Holly Hill has been apprehended, according to Orangeburg County Sheriff Leroy Ravenell.

“We will be able to geolocate you with your cell phone in certain areas and triangulate that in the computer and send text message to certain areas, not the whole town,” Chavis said.

The town will pay $2,000 a year for up to 25,000 text messages. TextMyGov is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

“It’s pretty vital for us to get real-time information out as soon as possible,” Chavis said.

Orangeburg County Council has approved the renovation of the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control building in Holly Hill to make classroom space for Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College.

That point was hammered home last month, when a major leak was discovered in a 12-inch water pipe in front of the mayor’s residence.

“We couldn’t fix it without shutting off the water,” he said.

Town employees found a cut-off valve nearby, but it didn’t work. They found another, a little further away. It didn’t work, either. They sawed through a layer of asphalt to reach a third cut-off valve. It didn’t work, either, Chavis said.

Finally, they had no choice but to cut off the water to everyone in town, the mayor recalled. That resulted in a flood of anxious calls to town employees.

“One resident wanted us to go door-to-door and hang notes (explaining why the water was off). That was just not possible,” the mayor said.

If TextMyGov had been in operation at the time, town officials could have sent out a text message explaining the situation, Chavis said.

“The system only works if you buy into it,” he added. Residents have to sign up for the service by calling 435-265-4446 and giving their phone number.

Details on how to sign up for TextMyGov will be printed on water bills and posted on the town’s website and Facebook page, the mayor said.

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