PARIS, Texas (KXII) -- After six years of service on the Paris city council, five as mayor, Dr. A.J. Hashmi is starting the next chapter of his life in Paris. We spoke with him today about the past, present and the future.
Dr. Hashmi was a fixture on the Paris city council for the past six years.
Monday was his final day as Mayor of Paris, a position he has held for five of the past six years.
He says it was an experience like no other.
"An awesome experience and the best form of community service that you could do," Hashmi said.
He feels during his tenure he and the council made great strides for the people of Paris.
"I feel that we empowered the residents of our community so that people that used to be disinterested in what the affairs of the city council got very much interested. Our attendance in the council meetings increased and I think that people felt that they were connected to the council," Hashmi added.
Dr. Hashmi says one of the council's biggest achievements was the passing of the $45 million water and sewer bond, one that everyone said would fail due to bad outcomes with previous bonds.
"We promised that we would not raise the taxes and we did not raise the taxes. We promised that there money would be utilized in a transparent and accountable fashion and that was what was done," Hashmi told News 12.
He says there is one issue he wishes the council would have improved upon.
"The permitting system in the city...though we worked on it and it improved somewhat, we are far from being good at it," Hashmi exclaimed.
When asked what advice he would give to the new Mayor, Dr. Steve Clifford, he says its simple.
"Keep listening to your residents and give them adequate time to speak," Hashmi said.
In the meantime, Dr. Hashmi will continue to practice medicine at the Paris Heart Clinic and has two massive projects that will give the people in the surrounding area better access to healthcare.
One is the renovation of the Clarksville General Hospital and the other is the Paris Medical Office Building, which used to be the old Philips Lighting building.