FAMILY: Wife, Vickie; three children; eight grandchildren
POLITICAL EXPERIENCE: Richmond County Board of Education, three terms
EDUCATION: Southern Illinois University, bachelor’s in health care management; Armstrong Atlantic State University, master’s in health care administration
ECHOLS ON THE STORMWATER FEE: I’m not for it because it’s a nice way of saying a tax. I can’t support that.
ON RAISING TAXES: I won’t support any new taxes. Businesses are not coming to Augusta because of taxes; they’ve been taxed to death. There are ways to reduce taxes. We need to get more commissioners thinking that way.
ECHOLS ON THE CONVENTION CENTER: It’s just been handled really poorly from the beginning. It’s a shame to lose business and it needs to get resolved. They all need to get together and have one meeting and handle it. It should not depend on the new commission. Personally I think it needs to be handled before January.
ECHOLS ON THE CITY ADMINISTRATOR: He works for the commissioners and he should be accessible and give the commission timely information. I think at times that hasn’t happened.
POLITICAL EXPERIENCE: None
EDUCATION: Tompkins High School, Savannah; Georgia Military College; Columbus State University, certificate in public administration
SMITH ON THE STORMWATER FEE: I do not support any fees or higher taxes given our current economic situation.
SMITH ON RAISING TAXES: I’m not for increasing the property tax; I’m not for taxing our citizens any more. At this point right now most people are maxed out. I’m for managing the amount of money that we have appropriately.
SMITH ON THE CONVENTION CENTER: It has become such that I don’t even know what they’re arguing about anymore, what the holdup is on the contract now. I’m confused, like most voters. I’m embarrassed that the city has lost two conventions. At the same time, I’m sure the current commission is trying to look out for the city; they just have to have some sense of urgency.
SMITH ON THE CITY ADMINISTRATOR: His job is to take the direction of the commission and the budget that is authorized him and do the business of the city through the department heads for the citizens and the taxpayers.