New Viera/Suntree county commissioner: conservation is good business


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Hardnosed retired businessman and new County Commissioner Curt Smith has a soft spot for anything that swims as evidenced by the art all over his office walls.

Linda Wiggins

It may be county government, but for new Brevard County District 4 Commissioner Curt Smith, he’s going to run it like a business, strictly business. 

What does this mean for the Viera/Suntree area that he will represent for the next four years, and possibly nearly the next decade if he serves a second term limited to a total of eight years?

First of all, you should know he likes you. He really likes you.

“Suntree/Viera people are very vibrant. They love living here and they love being a part of the growth of Brevard,” Smith said.

While he may like you, he’s not about to give you something if you don’t have the money for it, much like the dad who refuses to buy you a brand new car just for turning 16.

“My whole life I never bought a car on credit,” said Smith, the University of Miami grad who returned from Atlantic City, N.J., in 1986 to start the MAACO corporation’s first store in Brevard and the region. The auto-body repair shop went on to be the top earner in the corporation’s Southeast region.

“If all I had was $500, I bought a $500 car.” That’s the way he raised his daughter, now married and living locally with three children that he and his wife, Linda, seek to influence in the same way.

The analogy is a good one. He hates the common government practice of voting to do something for which there is no money and paying for it with bonds.

“By the time you pay back the $30,000 for the car, you’ve paid another $12,000 in interest, and guess what? It’s time to replace the car, and where is the money for that?”

Right now, Brevard County is in a crisis of need to replace items and equipment after years of lean budgets.

“When the items were purchased, there was never any money placed in the budget to replace them, Smith said.” 

Not surprisingly, Job One for Smith is to spearhead ,the creation of a five-year strategic plan. He’d like to eventually see it go to 15 and 20 years, but he “is a realist.”

Roads are a top priority because ignoring them leads to even greater cost. “If you don’t resurface them in time, then you have to replace the entire base, which is unbelievably more expensive, he said.”

He enjoyed a freshman win-win his first month in office when Space Coast Credit Union headquarters on Wickham Road at Baytree Boulevard requested to expand, and used the company’s desire for approval as leverage to get the intersection updated on the company’s dime and other impact concessions for surrounding residents. (See page 25.)

The retired businessman is hardnosed, but has a soft side for anything Indian River Lagoon — his home is at the edge of it on U.S. 1 three miles south of Suntree — and the environment overall that makes the Space Coast a haven.

“We need to tend to the health of the lagoon,” Smith said, adding a baby dolphin sculpture to a family of adults on his wall, just one of countless marine paraphernalia around his District 4 offices at the Government Center in Viera. “Play in it. Swim in it. Eat the fish from it. Brevard County is a tapestry of urban places, vast open spaces, and beauty everywhere in between. It’s what makes us special. It’s just good business to invest to preserve that.”

For more information on District 4 issues, call Smith’s aide Pat Woodard at 321-633-2044 or email Patrick.woodard@brevardcounty.us