Name: Gary Smith
Occupation: President and owner of B&G Ventures
Education: New York State Regency High School diploma, New York State Vocational Electrical and Electronics diploma, US Navy Electronics Tech Support School. (See resume for additional training and experience)
Prior political experience: Star City Councilman, 2010 to present
Civic involvement: Chairman Star Economic Development Committee, 2008-2010; City of Star EDC liaison, 2010-2011; Board of Directors of ESTech (Eagle, Emmett and Star Technology Corridor), 2008-2012; ESTech Marketing and Communication Committee; Boise Valley Economic Partnership working group member, 2008-2011; Central Valley Expressway Coalition co-chairman, 2010present; city liaison to Star Senior Center, 2010present; city liaison to Boise Valley Economic Partnership, 2010present; city liaison to Boise Chamber, 2010present.
Other community committees and services: Star Comprehensive Plan, 2007; Ada County Highway District Steering Committee; Idaho Power Eastern Valley Electrical Planning Committee, 2012; ACHD Capital Investment Citizens Advisory Committee, 2013; Star Chamber of Commerce member, 2010present; Star Mule Days, Home Town Celebration; Eagle Christian Church Mens Fellowship Program; Star Lions Hwy 16 Clean Up Committee; District 14 monthly meetings; Star Food Bank annual drives; founder of Star Community Updates email and Facebook, 2008-present; president and board member for Pinewood Lakes Home Owners Association (former secretary/treasurer).
Years living in Star: 7
Family: Wife, Elizabeth, daughter, Elizabeth Covert, son, Brian Smith
1. What makes you a better choice for voters than your opponent(s)?
Service and commitment to the city of Star. Proven leadership for Star based on my commitment to the community and the Treasure Valley. I believe in order to best serve the people of Star, one must be involved and take part in day-to-day activities.
I have served as: Star City Councilman, 2010-present; Chairman of Star Economic Development Committee (EDC); Star City liaison to EDC Committee, Boise Chamber and Star Seniors; member Boise Valley Economic Partnership (BVEP) Marketing Group.
Other community committees and services: Co-chairman of Central Valley Expressway/Hwy 16 Coalition; sponsor of and volunteer to Star Quilt Show; volunteer to Star Outreach Food Bank annual drives; member of Star Chamber of Commerce and Star Lions; member Idaho Power Eastern Valley Electrical Planning Committee; Star Parks and Recreation Volunteer Junior League Soccer Coach; member Ada County Highway District Steering Committee; Board of Directors of ESTech (Eagle, Emmett and Star Technology Corridor); member Idaho Department of Education Technology Task Force; member ACHD Capital Investment Citizens Advisory Committee ; citizen volunteer for Star Comprehensive Plan; volunteer/committee member for Mule Days and Home Town Celebration.
2. If elected, what are your top three priorities? How will you accomplish them? Please provide specifics.
a. Finish our plans for Hunters Creek Sports Park. This has been a great success in the community and is bringing people to Star to recreate and see all that Star has to offer. Now we have our own ball fields and soccer fields for our Parks and Rec Dept. to offer more sports programs for our community.
b. Continue our plans for the River Walk, which is another great asset to the city. We are joining with the Land Trust of Idaho to help us to continue to improve this great river setting that remains natural and rustic so as not to lose the feeling of Old Star." We still see kids walking to the river with their fishing poles and residents riding down Main Street on their horses.
c. Work with the city and the council to finish as much of the Star master plan as possible with the primary focus on downtown revitalization. The plan is very similar to ideas that Middleton and Eagle have used, by improving on what we have, to make Star more appealing but keeping the rural Old Star feeling.
(c. is the most important)
3. What is the one thing your city should start doing to encourage economic development and create jobs?
I want to see as much of the Star master plan that so many of our citizens worked so hard on over the last six years put in place. There are far too many things in the plan to cover in this response but you can see the plan here.
While not part of my official duties as a City Councilman my work as co-chairman on the Central Valley Expressway will have a major impact on Star and the Treasure Valley. This economic gateway in the Valley will provide new jobs, increase property values, and reduce congestion on our roads, which will benefit our citizens in Star and our surrounding communities. Please take a minute to watch this short video on the Hwy 16/Central Valley Expressway www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=6nX2naGiDpA
4. How do you envision your city 10 to 20 years from now? How should it change?
From 2000 to 2010 Star has grown by 222 percent. We are one of the fastest growing cities in Idaho and we are on track to see that growth continue. Growth is projected to move west from Boise and I see our city growing with that demand.
5. Are you concerned about public apathy and involvement in civic matters? How would you get more people involved?
Yes, I am concerned. In 2008 after knocking on over 2,000 doors in Star, I heard over and over that our citizens wanted to know about what was happening in their city but many did not read a daily newspaper, and the city website, while being updated, required people going to the website. When I asked how best to communicate with the people of Star, I heard over and over email and social media. In 2008 I created the Star Community Updates email database as a volunteer and not as a part of the city. I am proud to say that it has now grown to over 2,000 emails. I added the Star Community Updates Facebook page later and we are now celebrating our fifth anniversary. This week on an event update about Star Elementary School we had over 5,000 people visit our site in one week and read our update. We also can pass community and police alerts along on to the community.
6. What are the top two issues facing Star, and how should they be addressed?
I would refer you to my answer in question No. 2. If you review the Star Master Plan you will see that we have a very defined plan and now we need to take action to see that as much of that plan is completed.
7. If tax revenues take an upswing in the next few years, which part of city government do you think most needs an infusion of cash, and why?
Star is fiscally in very good shape. We have no debt and money in reserve that we can use to finish many of the projects that our citizens and the city have defined. Our Parks and Recreation Program is well funded and has been very successful. The focus now needs to be on the downtown revitalization plan that is part of the master plan and city parks.
8. If more budget tightening is needed, where would you look first for cuts? Why?
Star is in a very good fiscal position and with current growth and budget I do not for see any tightening needed.