Mike Smith is one of two candidates vying for election to an open seat on the Nevada City Council in the Dec. 4 election. The seat was vacated by Sherry Steward, who moved out of the city.
Occupation: Substance abuse counselor
Why do you want to be elected to the Nevada City Council and what would you like to achieve during a term on the council?
I would like to involve as many citizens as possible in all aspects of the city's business. I would hope we could make a concerted effort to also increase the attendance at city council meetings. Economic development is the key to a vital and healthy community. We need to form a group of committed citizens to develop a comprehensive, aggressive economic development plan. By bringing in meaningful jobs with good pay, we provide more opportunities for our young people and families. I also would like to involve the young people of our city through a Youth Leadership Council and have a young person appointed to the city council as an ex-officio (non-voting) member to provide input and ideas. I would like to work together with citizens to formulate crime watch areas and help decrease illegal drug trafficking in our city. I also would like to provide some real estate tax relief to our senior citizens living on fixed incomes from the city's share of the real property tax.
What experience do you have that makes you the best person to elect to the city council?
I work with people every day in a substance abuse and mental health facility and have seen the damage that drugs have done in people's lives, particularly our youth. Living in Nevada for 12 years, I have talked to a lot of the people and know what they want to achieve. The people in Nevada want growth, a safe place to live and opportunities to better their lives. I am a small business owner and have worked several jobs over the years. I am a common person and I represent no special interest agenda, nor do I have any particular ax to grind.
What do you see as the most important issues facing the city over the next three years and five years; and what, if anything, do you think the city council can do to address them?
Economic development is something that is facing the city now and in the future. The city council needs to vote on a full-time person to work on attracting new businesses to the city, as well as encouraging the growth and development of many of our small businesses. Economic development doesn't happen by accident. It takes commitment to develop a plan, a trained person in economic development to lead the effort and the involvement of interested citizens. Jobs with good pay, good benefits and opportunities for advancement should be our goal.
What can the city council do to improve the transparency of their actions?
The citizens of Nevada should be able to obtain any public records of future or past business within reason without charge. The City Council should obtain a minimum of three bids on all jobs. Most importantly, keep the business local. We should use local vendors and stop out-sourcing, unless there is no other vendor that does that particular job.
If you could instantly change any one thing about the Nevada city government, what would you change and why? How would that change affect the average residents?
Council members need to be more readily available to the public, because if it wasn't for the public they would not have been elected. The city council is for the people. The agenda and minutes of council meetings should be kept up to date on the city's Web site. I believe the city is in dire need of more street lights in areas where they don't exist. This will help to decrease the crime rate as well.
According to the 2010 Census, the population of Vernon County has grown, but at the same time the population of Nevada has decreased. What can or should the city do to encourage people to live inside the city limits?
Successful economic development will cause population growth and increase the tax base. Good affordable housing is also required. Otherwise, the city will slowly decline in population and opportunity.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
My promise to the citizens of Nevada is to work as hard as I can with all our citizens to make this the best city it can be, Together we can do this.
I have been a resident of Nevada for 12 years, a taxpayer, employed at Nevada Mental Health, a small business owner and a Crowder College student studying social work.
I have been married for 15 years to Jennifer Smith and we have two children, Danielle and Damien Smith.