Clayton residents set to elect mayor, 3 council members

CLAYTON — Voters in Clayton will decide the next mayor and three council seats in the Nov. 2 election.

Current Mayor Mike Stevens is running for a new term against Warren Wysong. And four people are running for three seats on the Clayton city council. They are incumbents Brendan Bachman, Greg Merkle and Tina Kelly while Jeremy Blanford is hoping to win a seat.

Stevens said that he decided to run for another term as mayor because he is proud of the growth the city has seen. He said a priority will be to continue down the path of improving the city’s infrastructure and bringing the community closer together.

“We will continue to attract quality residential and businesses opportunities and remain the safest city in Montgomery County,” he said. “I want to keep making Clayton a better place to live.”

He said it’s been an honor to serve the residents of Clayton and hopes that he will be able to continue to do so. He said that he feels he’s brought stability to the city government and residents know what they can expect from him.

“We’ve matured as a city. Our staff has really improved, we have a great new city manager and I believe the next four years are going to be better than the last four.”

Meanwhile, Wysong said he decided to run for mayor because he wants to be an elected official who listens to residents’ concerns and acts on their behalf.

“First and foremost I want to bring industry,” Wysong said. “We have very few jobs and I keep hearing that we don’t want Clayton to just be a bed community but Clayton is very much a bed community. All I see is they are trying to bring in more beds, more houses.”

He also said that he wants to review the way the city collects income taxes and potentially build a department inside the city to handle it instead of relying on an outside company. Stevens said the city has examined the different ways to handle income tax in the past and he too is open to alternatives.

Wysong said that he cares for his neighbors and wants to be a person they can come to with concerns. He said he wants to grow the city, but wants to do so in a way that is responsible.

“I’m not a politician, I’m a real person and I am more than willing to listen and more than willing to stand up and speak out for the people.”

Also, the four people who are running for three council seats say they too want to serve the community.

*** Bachman is finishing his first term in office and said he decided to run for a second term because he feels he did a good job in his first term.

“The main reason I am running for a second term is because I truly believe the city is on the right path,” Bachman said. “Just how safe the community is and how much it’s growing, I think the way the city government operates, I feel it’s going the right way.”

He said the council respects each other even when disagreements take place and he believes that’s important to the successful operation of the city. He said if elected, one of his top priorities will be to continue the growth of the city, bring in more business and continue to provide high-level services for residents.

“The way the city has gone, I think I’ve been a part of that and I’ve seen the positives for how this city has changed over the past 5 to 10 years and want to continue on that way,” Bachman said, adding that Clayton is a safe community that is experiencing growth.

*** Blanford said he decided to run for city council because of questions around housing and the city’s development over the last year and wants to be actively involved in the conversations.

“Clayton needs to grow, if you’re building only a handful of houses a year that’s not a way to sustain growth and sustain the spending it takes to run the city in a given year,” Blanford said. “You need more residents to lessen the burden.”

He said one of his priorities would be to fix the way the city handles its tax collections, saying that many residents have complained about the process.

“I’m a mechanic by trade, been doing it for 25 years and I don’t have a political background,” he said. “I’m just like everybody else and I don’t sway -- I’ll listen to both sides. Anyone who knows me knows me know that I’m a tell it like it is and sometimes the truth hurts but it is what it is at the end of the day.”

*** Kelly has been a council member for two terms and said she decided to run for her third term because she values working for the people and said overall Clayton is a great city to live in.

“I don’t have a personal agenda or personal aspirations, but I’m independent and I really want to support the residents,” Kelly said.

She said her priorities if elected will be to improve communication between the council, mayor and citizens to encourage the exchange of ideas between the government and the citizens it serves. She said she wants to prioritize attracting new business into the city rather than apartments, continue to support the police and fire services in the community and develop parks and recreation.

“I’m all about family, I’m a lifelong resident of Clayton,” Kelly said. “I’ve always been a friend of education. I feel like was can raise a family here.”

*** Merkle has been a city council member for three terms and decided to run for his fourth term because he said he likes engaging with the public to make the city better.

“You want to ensure there is sound leadership making sure the city is properly run and that the public interest is being addressed and needs are being addressed. This is my home, where I live and I want to contribute,” he said.

He said it’s important to him to work with others and come up with solutions that make the city government work. He said if elected, his priorities in office would be to ensure the financial health of the city and keeping the city’s budget in balance. He also said he wants to responsibly encourage development in the city.

“I want to see things done in a manner moving forward that brings stability to the community,” Merkle said. He also said that he wants to work with surrounding cities to help continue to improve the region.

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