TIFTON — Tifton Mayor Julie Smith is seeking a second term, according to a press release.
“I’m excited to announce I will seek a second term as mayor of Tifton,” said Smith in the release. “We have made a lot of positive progress and there are so many developments underway that I want to see through to fruition.”
“I’ve learned so much during my first term and look forward to spending dedicated time over the next months, just like I did during my campaign, meeting with groups of people across the community to learn what issues they want to see addressed,” she added.
Smith cites several things she’s proud of from her first term in the release.
She points to urban redevelopment efforts in a 20-block area in south Tifton. Bruce Green, former Main Street Director, is on board to oversee the initiative that includes a $750,000 grant that funded the removal of Captain’s Point Trailer Park.
In its place, a youth development center will be built, providing easy access to a safe place for children in the area. The city will partner with the YMCA to provide services to children and families in the building; other approved organizations providing services to the area will also be able to use the center.
The release states that “infrastructure repair including water and sewer lines, paving and other items are being addressed; an effort to recruit businesses, such as a grocery store, retail stores and others to serve the area is underway, and the initiative includes working with property owners to rehabilitate blighted areas in the neighborhood.”
She also points to the creation of a Community Development Office which located the offices for new business licenses, historic preservation and design; engineering plan reviews, zoning, and building permits in one central location.
Funding city departments, focusing on employee health and putting out an Annual Report to communicate how tax money is being spent are other areas she’s proud of, according to the release.
“I’m really proud of these initiatives as well as others, but we cannot rest on our laurels, there’s more work to done,” said Smith. “For example, the Urban Redevelopment is a massive project that has both short and long-term components, and we are really starting to see this movement gain traction.”
Smith says she remains committed to smart, planned sustainable growth in the release. “Industry is certainly important, but local businesses are also critical to growth, development and maintaining a sense of community identity.”
Fighting human trafficking is another area she wants to focus on.
“We will have a workshop in spring of 2020 to train not only our first responders but people in the hospitality industry and concerned citizens,” said Smith. “I learned a lot more about the magnitude of this problem during a Georgia Municipal Association meeting recently with other mayors. It is beyond disturbing and we simply must confront this issue head on, not only for the victims of both sex trafficking and labor trafficking, but also for the overall health and safety of our community.”
Smith says she plans to “continue delivering on her promises of being pro-business, being collaborative in her approach to problem-solving, and supporting growth that benefits all citizens.”
The Tifton mayoral election will be held Nov. 5.
Qualifying runs Aug 19-23.