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Gowanda Mayor Dave Smith set to resign

Submitted Photo Gowanda Mayor Dave Smith is set to resign this week from his role with the Village. Smith is pictured with his wife, Jill.

GOWANDA — The Village of Gowanda will soon need to fill some pretty big shoes.

Mayor Dave Smith announced his intention to resign from his post as the Village’s leader, effective this Wednesday, in a video posted to his Facebook page on Sunday.

“I come to you today with an announcement that’s been heavy on my mind for a long time,” Smith said at the onset of the video he posted on Facebook. The video was 13:40 in duration.

Smith noted he has become “over saturated” and “overwhelmed” with his many duties as mayor, at a countywide level, at the Gowanda Central School District, and within his church. Smith is a member of the Gowanda Free Methodist Church, and he consistently referenced his faith throughout the video.

“Who we are is not determined by the positions we hold,” Smith said. “Who we are is determined by our hearts and how we use the gifts that God has given us to serve other people and help other people.”

Smith claimed that since he became mayor more than seven years ago, he has worked between 60 to 80 hours each week across all of his areas of passion. He is approaching retirement from his role as an administrator at the Gowanda Central School District and stated a desire to “wind down” over the coming years.

“This feeling of being overwhelmed has caused me to be less than 100 percent faithful in all of those services,” Smith said. He noted times where he has been short-tempered and quick to respond. Because of that, Smith said, “I have reevaluated my priorities.”

Smith noted he has not been able to spend as much time with his family as he would like to, especially with a young grandchild who he has struggled to make time to visit. He also mentioned an inability to visit with his children, including his daughter who is teaching overseas in the United Kingdom.

“I need to reset my priorities to my wife; to my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ; to my family; and to myself,” Smith said.

Smith has served as mayor for more than seven years. During his tenure, Smith oversaw tremendous improvements in Gowanda. The Village recently received a $4.5 million NY Forward Grant from New York State, which will be used to fund transformational projects in downtown Gowanda. Smith welcomed NY Secretary of State Robert J. Rodriguez outside the Hollywood Theater when he visited Gowanda last year, and later met with Governor Kathy Hochul when the grant was awarded.

“There have been a lot of accomplishments and a lot of people to thank. First of all, I thank my teammates – the board and the village,” Smith said as he thanked them all, beginning with Deputy Mayor Carol Sheibley. He also thanked all current and past employees of the village that have worked alongside him, and credited the Village Clerk and Treasurer’s offices for their efforts with the village’s finances.

Smith highlighted that the village has increased its reserves by 240% over his time as Gowanda mayor. He stated the village was borrowing $300,000 to make payroll when he took over. Taxes increased only 6% total over eight annual budgets, while compensation for local law enforcement has increased dramatically over the past 12 months.

Since the video was posted to his social media on Sunday, it has been played more than 5,000 times, shared more than 20 times, and received close to 200 comments. Smith said he tried to be “the people’s mayor” and was touched by the overwhelming support he received in response to his decision.

“I’m flattered and humbled,” Smith said.

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