Howard Smith - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Howard Smith

Howard Smith

Running for: Amarillo City Council Place 4

How he voted in the November 2016 city bond election: Yes to all seven propositions

What are your major campaign points and how do you plan to make them happen?

My platform is made up of concentrating on listening to people. We've got to create ways to really sincerely listen to people and do what they want done. We need to restore trust and accountability to the city. And then I want to increase economic activity in all parts of the city, not just downtown.

Do you think the city should continue to issue bonds to fund future projects, or just use money allocated in the annual budget?

[For future projects] I think we'd have to look at it to see how much it is. It's quite a bit and so you can only raise taxes so much and then it goes to the voters. I think we'd do a combination. We'd look in the budget and then we'd consider when to do bonds. From what I understand we can't go and sell bonds for these same things that failed for three years. Two of the seven propositions passed, and so we have approval to sell bonds for those. That'll be done over a five year period. There may be and probably are some critical things in those other proposals that did not pass, so I'm sure the city manager will be looking for places to fund that. But we can't do bonds for those things.

Do you think the city should have a role in economic development, or should that task fall solely on the Amarillo Economic Development Corporation?

I think it's both. The city manager and some other staff members will concentrate on it but they need to work together. But the AEDC has a direct responsibility to work on it full time and the city manager has a lot of other things to do. The city council, if they've got ideas they need to present those to the city manager and to the AEDC. Those are the experts. And so if I have an idea I want to present that to the city manager and get that to the AEDC and let them concentrate on it.

What letter grade would you give to the current city council and why?

I'd grade them as a "C." They could do better. There's been a lot of disharmony. There hasn't been trust, they haven't created trust with the city. That needs to be worked on a lot so that the city will believe what we say. We've got to do a lot of listening. 

What do you think you would bring to the city council that's not there right now?

"I've got a lot of experience at things. I served on the Amarillo school board for 10 years. I served on the Wayland Baptist University board for nine years. I've served on the Planning and Zoning Commission for eight plus years. I served on the Comprehensive Plan Implementation Advisory Committee for four years. So I've got experience, I know the city pretty well. It's not new to me. So I think I've got as much experience as anybody. 

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