Election 2017: Clayton mayor facing challenger

Clayton Mayor Joyce Deitering is facing a challenge from Clayton City Councilman Mike Stevens in the November election.

We asked both candidates several questions about what they would do if elected.

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Q: What are the biggest problems facing the community? What do you propose doing to tackle these challenges?

Joyce Deitering: The biggest problem currently facing the community is continuing to provide quality basic services in a financially responsible manner while moving the city forward to provide the amenities that young people look for in growing communities. This will be accomplished by completing our current road improvement program where every road in the city is resurfaced or repaired, continued work on our city comprehensive plan to make the city prime for development and a new effort to improve and expand parks and recreation areas.

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Mike Stevens: One challenge Clayton faces is attracting business development. We do have the attractive corridors of Main Street (Rt 48), Salem Avenue (Rt 49) and National Road (Rt 40), but have not been able to take advantage of these thoroughfares. Our zoning and lack of infrastructure has not been consistent with growing our city. Although we are addressing these issues now, our City has been slow to recognize these issues. Another challenge is residential development. We have a lot of green space in our city and seems to be perfect for residential building. Our new building rates are slow compared to surrounding cities. If elected, I will encourage development through increased efforts to contact and meet with potential developers. I propose we develop an incentive plan that will draw builders and businesses to Clayton. To begin, we need a professional sales packet that would market our city and promote our many amenities to send to potential developers that presents an excellent image.

Q: What can you do if elected to help grow the local economy and add jobs? What ideas do you have for attracting new jobs and investment?

Joyce Deitering: Since my first term as Mayor the city has seen in excess of 600 new jobs in the city. It is important to maintain a community where executives and employees want to live, which is of primary importance to businesses looking to move or build in a new city. The city will also look at obtaining a new commerce park to have locations shovel ready for business to build.

Mike Stevens: I will be much more aggressive in attracting potential business and residential developers. Our zoning codes must be attractive and our financial incentives must be better if we want to attract top rate development. Clayton will need to have the correct infrastructure for the types of businesses we are trying to attract such as water/sewer on Rt 48 and Rt 49. We will likely need to present an incentive package to potential developers that includes tax abatements, streets, lights, etc. I will push to increase the number of inquiries we submit and work to attract specific types of businesses that will provide high pay jobs. I will try to form strong coalitions with our neighboring cites to create true collaboration. I will create a ‘Think Tank’ of our residents comprised of both business people and residential builders to brainstorm realistic ideas. We have many excellent leaders that will engage. Our city is over due for both business and residential development.

Q: What is your top priority if elected?

Joyce Deitering: Providing quality basic services in a financially responsible manner while moving the city forward to provide the amenities that young people look for in growing communities.

Mike Stevens: My top priority will be to attract new business development and increase residential development in Clayton. If we do not encourage development out citizens will continue to bear the financial burdens of the city through taxes. More jobs in our city mean more revenue from additional sources. More business development means more local jobs and more local spending. New housing development means more residents can live where they work and work where they live. We need to focus on our needs as a city and work toward those ends. We are not a township anymore. Other priorities include infrastructure improvement including water to the Village of Clayton, continued focus on the Villages of North Clayton, Main Street corridor, smart growth in our northwest quadrant, and keeping overall costs to our residents at an acceptable level. I will encourage open communication with residents through social media, town hall meetings, and face to face meetings in small groups. More engagement.

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