Wes Smith is a busy man.
Just a few months into his new job as Rincon City Manager, Smith has been hard at work with his staff and members of the Rincon City Council and while he has been busy, Smith said the transition has been nothing but positive.
“It’s been very positive - first and foremost, the staff and council appear to be extremely knowledgeable and capable and that makes it much better,” Smith said. “In having come from a larger community, I’m very familiar with all of the processes and the different services we provide so I’m able to focus more on the people, the staff and the council – I’ve thoroughly enjoyed that.”
Smith has been particularly busy with the budget for Rincon.
“For me, the focus has been primarily on the budget,” Smith said. “I came from a community that runs off of a fiscal year and not a calendar year. When I walked in the door, I did not realize they were in the early phases of doing the budget for 2017. I had to focus in on that significantly, which actually turned out well because it forced me to become far more knowledgeable about the details of the operation.”
Not everything has been so smooth – the city has a few issues it has been dealing with.
“Obviously, there has been a lot of cleanup work in the aftermath of the hurricane coming through,” Smith said. “We’ve got some issues with our utility system trying to get more modernized – we’re looking at some new software opportunities. It’s been a great challenge but I’m having a great time.”
Looking ahead, Smith explained that the city will need to restructure its revenue streams and be more careful in how the money is used.
“One of the biggest things that we’ve got to do is restructure our revenue streams,” Smith said. “They have been spending more money from the general fund than what I think we should be spending and I think the council would agree. I think we did a much better job with the budget this year and unlike past managers, I’ve already done a 2018 budget so we’ve got a handle on where this is going to go.”
Smith added that his goal every year is to stay one step ahead with the budget.
“That’s going to be my goal every year,” Smith said. “Staying a year ahead on the budgets gives us a much better picture of what’s coming and what adjustments we’ll have to make.”
Smith served as a city employee of Albany for 31 years and left his position of Assistant City Manager in July. He also held the positions of the director of Albany-Dougherty Inner City Authority (ADICA) and the city of Albany’s capital development superintendent.
“Coming from such a larger group – we had approximately 1,000 employees – I’m given the luxury of getting to know the people here as well as the council,” Smith said. “That is so refreshing. I like people a lot and I came up through the ranks myself – it just makes it more interesting. I think they are learning to know me and know that I’m going to support them and I’m going to do a good job.”
Smith says he is going to take care of his staff and in turn, they will help take care of the people of Rincon.
“I’m going to take care of them,” Smith said. “Your staff is the backbone of your organization – that’s all there is to it. We’ve got to treat our customers right but I want to see the staff treated right as well.”