“What I’m trying to convey to people is we’re going to move to the future. Part of my campaign is to get south Augusta on board,” Smith said Tuesday.
The city’s two super districts each encompass half the population of Augusta-Richmond County. Super District 10 takes in west Augusta’s districts 3 and 7, where Smith resides, and districts 6 and 8 in south Richmond County.
Smith said he’ll announce his run for another term noon Wednesday at the intersection of Windsor Spring Road and Highway 25 – near the sites of incoming commercial growth he said is the future of the area, due in part to construction of two new nuclear reactors in nearby Burke County.
“The west side, down along the riverbank, is just about built up,” Smith said. “With Plant Vogtle coming in the next three to five years, the whole south side there, that’s our next area of growth.”
Smith, who replaced now-state Department of Transportation board member Don Grantham on the commission, said while commission decision-making has focused heavily on downtown Augusta, the rest of the city shouldn’t be left out.
“You need a hub, like a wheel. Then you’ve also got outlying areas or spokes. All of them need a certain amount of attention. We need to make sure that we get the fair share into certain areas of this town,” he said.
The loquacious commissioner’s first term was marked by a controversy, when his company was found to be subcontracting on a city construction project at Fort Gordon. He and two other commissioners later censured by their colleagues for similar activities denied knowledge the work was improper, but it led to a revision of the city’s ethics code.
The same year, Smith was out for weeks due to heart problems and diabetes, but said Tuesday he’d lost 58 pounds and was back in shape, ready for a second term and grateful for the area’s array of medical facilities.
Smith has no announced opponents in the election, which will likely take place in May. The commission’s district 2, 4, 6, 8 and 10 post are up for election this year.