Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

ELECTION 2002 KINGSLAND MAYOR Ex-Councilmen Have Long History

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

ELECTION 2002 KINGSLAND MAYOR Ex-Councilmen Have Long History

Article excerpt

Byline: Gordon Jackson, Times-Union staff writer

KINGSLAND -- In the past three months, Kingsland has lost three city leaders with a combined 49 years of experience.

First, Keith Dixon resigned as mayor to run for the General Assembly. He served as mayor for 17 years and as a city councilman for two years.

His resignation was followed by those of Kenneth Smith, who served 16 years on the City Council, and Jimmy Johnson, who served 14 years as a councilman.

Both men said their prior experience as councilmen made them qualified to run in a special election Tuesday to complete Dixon's term as mayor, which ends Dec. 31, 2003.

Smith said his top priority is to maintain the continuity the City Council has established since he was elected. He said his job as a civil service employee at Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base gives him the flexibility to attend meetings or respond to any emergency.

"You don't have to guess at what you're getting; the blueprint is already laid," he said. "I have a good knowledge of the staff and a good working relationship with other council members."

Smith said he wouldn't "micro-manage" city employees, though he is a "hands-on person."

Completion of road projects such as the Boone Avenue extension from Mariners Landing to downtown will give much needed relief from traffic problems for residents living in the Mariners Landing subdivision and beyond Interstate 95, where motorists often experience traffic congestion, Smith said.

He also would work to get more state funding for much-needed drainage projects in the city, Smith said.

Continued cooperation with city planning and zoning employees will help ensure Kingsland is prepared for anticipated growth, he said.

"It's a paramount issue to make sure we don't get caught behind the eight-ball," Smith said. "It seems like there's no slowdown."

Johnson said continued economic development is important because of the pending Durango-Georgia Paper Co. shutdown and the Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base loss of two Trident submarines to another base. …

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