Mike Smith was elected in November 2017 to fill the council seat representing residents in District 4. In November of 2020, he was elected by his fellow council members to serve as the city’s Vice-Mayor.
Councilman Smith serves with the mayor and his fellow council members as the legislative branch for the City of Groveland. His responsibilities include setting policies and making decisions concerning various aspects of local government for Central Florida’s fastest growing city, which is also recognized as one of the safest cities and best places to live.
Councilman Smith represents the City of Groveland on the Florida League of Cities, South Lake Regional Water Cooperative and the Affordable Housing Group. He serves as the city’s alternate member to the Lake-Sumter Metropolitan Planning Organization, South Lake Economic Development Committee, South Lake Task Force MPO, and the Veteran’s Affairs Committee.
At the time of his election, Councilman Smith was the president and CEO of Sextant Strategic Consulting, LLC. He closed this company in 2020 to dedicate more time to the city council. Previously he was the Deputy Director of the Center for Maritime and Port Security with SRI
International and the Director of Maritime and Homeland Security for STS International.
Councilman Smith also served as a member of the Harris Chain of Lakes Restoration Council. This council was charged with the responsibilities of reviewing audits and all data specifically related to lake restoration techniques and sport fish population recovery strategies, including data and strategies for shoreline restoration, sediment control and removal, exotic species management, floating tussock management or removal, navigation, water quality, and fish and wildlife for the Harris Chain of Lakes.
A proud veteran, Councilman Smith honorably served his country as a member of the U.S. Navy Reserve from 1970–1980 and the U. S. Coast Guard from 1980-2005, achieving the rank of Captain. He is a strong believer in education and holds a Master of Science from Johns Hopkins University a Master of Science from the National War College and a Doctor of Management in Organizational Leadership from the University of Phoenix.
Councilman Smith is married and has two children and 4 wonderful grandchildren. A dancer at heart, he teaches ballroom and line dancing. He also enjoys participating in golf, fishing and various other outdoor activities.
As Mayor I will have a greater positive impact on council due to my leadership skills, objectivity and life experiences.
I strongly believe the city has reached a turning point where the composition of the council members is vitally important to continue to move forward in a positive manner.
In addition to electing me Mayor, this year’s voters will have the opportunity to reelect two people who have been instrumental in moving the city forward in a constructive direction: Barbara Gaines and Randolph Waite.
Why I am Running for Mayor
Implement Groveland’s 2022 Strategic Plan
Enhance Quality of Life
Grow Businesses and Jobs
My background as a Coast Guard officer, small business owner, and employment in the private sector have given me a diverse background of knowledge, skills and abilities that uniquely qualify me to be the next mayor of Groveland. Some of those skills and competencies are:
Taking Initiative – When I see a problem or issue that faces the city or our residents, I seek to understand and present possible solutions to that problem. Resolution of a problem can only come from a unified understanding by the city staff and the elected officials and I have the skills to analyze problems and develop various courses of action to address those issues.
Respect for Following and Improving the Process – I respect the processes the city has, champion for those we do not and always seek to see how a process can be improved to benefit the city and its residents.
Diversity and Inclusion – I have worked with many different people who had different life experience backgrounds, religions, race, gender, ethnic backgrounds and economic status. These experienced have prepared me to work in cooperative environments with many different types of individuals.
Comprehensive Skills – I know what it takes to get the job done be it communication, problem solving, budgeting, personnel and a variety of other factors. Additionally, my training and life experiences have provided me skills for conflict resolution and resilience.
My leadership and capabilities have been clearly demonstrated in my success as a council member and have proven to be a benefit to Groveland and its citizens. As Mayor I will have a greater impact on bringing positive growth to the city and in making Groveland a city that people choose to work, play and live in.
Why You Should Vote for Me
A city is like a living organism, it must adapt if it is to grow and survive. Groveland’s need to adapt is even more pressing as it is seeing growth levels not experienced in its past. I believe the following nine areas will be crucial for the city adapting and growing while maintaining its natural charm and country personality.
Moving Groveland Forward
Successful organizations must continuously examine their programs and relevance hence Groveland embarked on the creation of a strategic plan. The development of this plan was partnered between the city and community stakeholders who reflect the community as a whole. I look forward to working with the Strategic Planning Steering Committee on the next step of the process, creation of an implementation plan that provides a defined way forward for the city to realize the goals set forth in the strategic plan.
Many have likely heard Aristotle’s observation that “The whole is larger than the sum of its parts.” While Groveland is growing, it is still a small city and can benefit by working in partnership with surrounding cities, the county and the state to achieve its future goals. Water, wastewater, parks, trails and transportation are some of the issues that will benefit from a regional approach. Currently underway is the establishment of a joint planning agreement between the cities and Lake County to better align future land use.
Prior to 2018, the city council approved various zoning changes, including the issuance of planned unit development (PUD) ordinances. All of those changes created entitlements to property owners for 25,000 additional homes; a 300 percent increase in the city’s population. The city has amended its land development code to help manage these entitlements, while helping preserve over 50% of the city’s current open spaces.
The livability of a city includes elements such as recreation facilities, safety, security, the environment and a well-maintained infrastructure. In addition, quality of life is also impacted by transportation and housing availability. I am committed to increasing the number of trails and sidewalks to improve the walkability of the city and pedestrian safety.
Quality of Life
The city’s new strategic plan identifies financial health as a priority of the city. As the city grows and evolves from a mainly rural and agrarian construct to the new walkable communities, it will need a sound long range financial plan. I envision this plan to chart a path that does not burden the present residents, overtax new residents or decrease the levels of service which support the quality-of-life city residents desire and deserve.
With the increase in population and the creation of new businesses, we must ensure the transportation systems can support the new demands. Many of the transportation issues need to be addressed at the state and county level, and I will work with city staff to ensure that we continue to engage those entities for improvements to our roads. The city also needs to create a master transportation plan whereby developers install new roadways that are adequately sized and feed into the main city and county roads in a safe and efficient manner.
I believe we have the ability to address this need through city ordinances and engagement with developers on future building. We also need to partner with non-profit organizations, such as Habitat for Humanity and Housing For All Lake County to expand opportunities for essential workers and other professions to include and not limited to a large segment of the workforce, such as: police, fire, teachers, nurses and delivery drivers who need affordable housing.
Partnering with Lake County and the state, Groveland has been successful in attracting commercial businesses and industry to the city. In fact, there are over 2 million square feet of warehouse space either under construction or in the planning stage within the Christopher Ford Commerce Center. I am committed to bringing additional commercial and retail businesses into the city, including the small business which are at the core to the city’s efforts to create walkable communities, growing jobs and revenues for the city.
This past year the city has developed master plans for: Parks and Recreation, Water/Wastewater and Stormwater. We also crafted a City Strategic Plan and a new Future Land Use plan and implemented the new Land Development Code. These plans will help to guide development and allow the city to maintain open spaces and its natural charm. The key will be how these documents are implemented. I have experience implementing plans such as these from the national level to that of an individual company. My knowledge, skills and experiences will help ensure Groveland and its residents realize the stated goals and benefits identified by these plans.