Toni Smith has been a part of the Jackson County government for the past two and a half years and says most people still don’t understand what she does.
For the record, Smith is the Jackson County planner.
"I mainly do development reviews," she said. "I look at commercial projects, landscaping designs and review applications for building permits. I also meet with the public to answer planning questions."
As the county planner, it is her responsibility to review the different aspects of new developments to ensure that they meet zoning requirements and the county’s overall vision for the given area.
Smith, who grew up in Marietta, hasn’t always been on the governmental side of things. Previously, she worked in economic development, which is where she first got a taste for her current job.
"With economic development, I dealt a lot with county governments trying to get projects completed," she said. "You have to deal with a lot of different people. It’s not as easy as some people may think to get a new development going; there are many facets to the process."
When she’s not busy reviewing project plans, Smith also enjoys doing craft projects and helping animals.
"I have a big interest in animals — especially dogs," she said. "When I lived in Cobb County I did a lot of volunteer work at an animal shelter there."
Smith holds two undergraduate degrees from the University of Tennessee — one in finance and one in economics — and a master’s in planning from Georgia State University.
Although she admits that she didn’t always plan on being a county planner, Smith says that she still enjoys what she does.
"I enjoy my job because I am always up and moving — each situation is different, so no two days are exactly alike," she said. "And I enjoy being involved with what’s going on in the community."