WATERTOWN, NY — City mayoral candidate Jeffrey Smith released the following statement on Friday, Sept. 13, 2019:
The Flower Memorial Library is one of the City of Watertown’s greatest assets and important to the overall strength of our community. In recent years, the City has invested millions of dollars in our library to make various improvements—including adding new elevators, refurbishing its interior, façade, fountains and stained glass windows, as well as making important security upgrades and expanding hours. Despite this, it is still a challenge for the library to keep up with the increasing and ever-changing demands of its patrons.That’s why on Monday night, I made it a point to attend a City Council work session where the library’s director and board members discussed funding for our library and their recommendation for ways to save city taxpayers money.
Ironically, my opponent—who was not at Monday’s meeting—released a statement Thursday regarding the City’s role in funding the library. I find it concerning that instead of hearing firsthand from the library’s director and board members, she chose to stop by a political fundraiser for a photo op.
Since announcing my candidacy for Mayor back in April, I have made time to attend nearly every City Council meeting and work session. In contrast, my opponent has been absent from nearly every single one—including meetings where important issues like the Thompson Park Pool, public transportation or a new law addressing vacant buildings were discussed.
As a father of four and a small business owner, I know all about life’s demands. I also know that life is about choices—and time and time again, my opponent has chosen to be absent from nearly all important meetings and work sessions.
Being mayor isn’t all about photo ops and fun events—it’s about committing yourself to the future of our city. It’s about taking time to listen and learn firsthand about the issues being discussed before you criticize them. Even though I have over a decade of experience in local government and have been to countless City Council meetings throughout my lifetime, I still know there’s always something new to be learned and that there is value in attending meetings in person, especially when important topics are being discussed.
The issues being talked about at City Council meetings and work sessions today will be at the forefront next year and in the years to come. That’s why I have—and will continue to—make it a priority to be present, informed and committed to the future of our city.