GOP mayoral candidate Tim Smith: Fort Wayne should ‘expect more’ from government

Tim Smith

Insisting Fort Wayne residents should “expect more” from city government, businessman Tim Smith Tuesday was expected to kick off his campaign for mayor Tuesday after filing as a candidate in the May Republican primary against City Councilman John Crawford.

And if he does become mayor next year, Smith said he’ll make certain the firm responsible for garbage and recycling collection is doing the job.

Smith, an executive at Medical Protective, a Fort Wayne medical insurance firm, officially announced his candidacy last August but Tuesday highlighted ways he intends to improve on the records established by Crawford and incumbent Democratic Mayor Tom Henry, who is seeking a fourth term.

“More,” Smith said, refers to many things: jobs, higher wages, closer scrutiny of the city’s $160 million budget, transparency about the city’s increasing debt and better public safety. While Crawford and Henry will point to their years of government experience, Smith insists his years as a private business executive have equipped him to make the city more efficient and effective.

Smith said any debt the city incurs should be of the “smart” variety: that it is, it should result in some form or return on investment. Legacy and capital improvement funds have been depleted because that policy has not always been followed, he said. And although he acknowledges downtown Fort Wayne has seen dramatic improvements in recent years, Smith said neighborhoods, public safety and other areas cannot say the same in spite of tax increases supported by Crawford and Henry.

“The next mayor needs to travel around and convince companies to move their headquarters to Fort Wayne because their money will multiply and their people will be happier,” he said. “We can’t continue the status quo.”

Smith said that if trash problems persist through 2019, he would ask Red River Waste to agree to reopen the bidding process. If they refused, Smith vowed, he would enforce the current contract to the letter of the law, which could result in dramatically increased fines for nonperformance.

Smith also said he has been endorsed by Allen County Right to Life. Crawford has said he will not take a position on abortion because it is not within the mayor’s authority, but Smith insisted that “abortion is relevant at every level of government.”