Valparaiso Mayor Brent Smith will serve another four-year term as the mayor after winning a competitive race for re-election on March 8th.
Smith defeated Patrick Palmer 375-309 for the right to sit in the Mayor’s seat. The victory means
- ???? A $1 annual salary – payable at the end of the term with a plaque that has four dollar coins
- ???? A vote on all matters big and small that come before the commission
- ????????♀️ The weight that comes with leadership
“It feels great,” Smith said, “I hate that some of the opposition got so mudslingy. I stayed above the board and didn’t go below the belt and was misquoted on several things, but we made it on honesty and what we accomplished in the last four years is historical.”
Now that the election is over – Smith is turning his focus to migrating the city’s services and operations to the Old Synovus Bank Building on John Sims Parkway. Once renovated, the building will serve as the nucleus for the city’s government. It’s a move Smith expects to be completed before his term in office is up.
The move frees up the buildings currently being used by the city. Mayor Smith hopes it is the will of the commission to rent out or sell the buildings the city currently occupies on Valparaiso Parkway.
Additionally, the mayor hopes to see the new boat ramps completed at Lincoln Park. The city received a grant of $450,000 to install the infrastructure.
It’s not a secret that the city of Valparaiso has not had a friendly relationship with Eglin Air Force Base. The defining moment between the two organizations came in 2009 when the city sued the Air Force over jet noise.
“We’ve reestablished a new bond with Eglin Air Force Base, and we’re now becoming the home of Eglin AFB,” Mayor Smith said.
He hopes to lead the city to continue good relations with its neighbor to the east as well. “We have shown ourselves to be a real sister city for Niceville by integrating our fire departments together. We are working very well together, and I would like to keep moving that continuity forward.”
Spring is starting to peek its head out around northwest Florida. For government – that means getting ready for the next fiscal year. Mayor Smith has a couple of items on his budget wish list.
He plans to make sure that the city uses the reimbursement from the Federal Government’s CARES act (about $2.7 Million) for projects around the city.
Additionally, Smith wants to get the city to release funds to improve the senior center in town. “We will be putting money into the senior citizen building as a city – and are looking forward to that building becoming an independent entity. We will have events over there that will help it support itself,” Smith said, “The building was in much greater shape than we had anticipated, so we got private contractors stepping up. I want to convince the city to raise the budget from what it is now to a higher level for the building to make it more functionable and easier for them to operate there.”