The Sound’s 2015 Dover City Council Voter’s Guide: Matthew Smith

Matthew Smith (Ward 4)

Matthew Smith (Ward 4)

For Ward 4: Matthew J. Smith
Age: 33
Occupation:  Senior passport specialist, U.S. Department of State
Years living in Dover:  7
Prior public service experience: None.

As rental housing development increases downtown, what can the city do to keep Dover affordable for middle- and working-class residents?
Honestly, Dover needs to keep itself affordable for all residents, not just those who self-identify with specific “class” requirements. Right now, prices for homes are crazy because nobody can afford Portsmouth anymore, UNH has grown far too big for itself, and people want to make money. For many young professionals, Dover is the only (relatively) affordable option for housing; many jobs are in the Portsmouth area, and it just makes sense to live here, as it is a pretty great little city.

How can the city address the impact of downshifting costs from state government to municipalities?
I need to research more into this issue before I can make an honest, informed opinion that doesn’t contain political buzzwords that people think they want to hear.

Would you be willing to support a tax cap override while developing city budgets? Why or why not?
If the override ensured that the next generation of students would be receiving a better education than what the preceding generations received, I am completely on board.

The council recently voted to approve funding for a new high school, and construction of a new police station/parking garage is under way. What should the city’s priorities be for future capital improvement projects?
Cleaning up their messes, when they happen. Taking care of the small businesses that make this city what it is. Accept fault when it is theirs, and make things right again. Focus on the people who already live here rather than the “planned growth” and the people who aren’t here yet, but may be someday.

How can the city best address the increased costs associated with federal EPA regulations regarding stormwater and wastewater management?
(No answer provided.)

What was the most recent cultural event you attended in Dover?
My wife and I attended Apple Harvest day, as it is one of our favorite days of the year. One of my students (I teach saxophone and music theory out of my home) was performing with his school jazz band, and it was an amazing opportunity for him to play, and the rest of the community to support him.

What is the most important issue facing the city that no one is talking about yet?
Dover needs to take a step back and take care of those who have chosen to live here already. Development is great, only if the infrastructure can support it. I live on Back River Road, and it is impossible to get to downtown Dover for four to six hours of the day due to the congestion at the Route 108 intersection. Four schools, countless daycares, sporting fields, and people trying to get home from work overwhelm the infrastructure every day, yet there are still new developments being built. Growth is great, but not at the cost of function.