Five candidates are running for three Clayton City Council seats on the Nov. 5 ballot.
There are 9,752 registered voters in the northern suburb that is made up of 13,209, according to Jan Kelly, director of the Montgomery County Board of Elections and the U.S. Census data.
The incumbents are Greg Merkle, environmental health and safety specialist at Wright State University, and Robert E. Peters, a retired owner of an excavating business. Challengers are Dr. Kevin Horvath, a pediatrician; Tina Kelly, a hair salon and day spa operational manager and esthetician; and Dennis Lieberman, attorney.
Merkle, in his fourth year on council, said he wants to help with improving the city’s roadways, business opportunities, job growth and what he calls smart development.
“There is a lot of things going on at Austin Landing and south of town that it seems like the northern part of Montgomery County doesn’t see the same opportunities coming its way,” he said. “If something moves into Englewood and it’s something that can help the surrounding community – as long as it fits within the identity of the area – I would support it.”
Merkle also is seeking re-election because there are some issues he feels he has not had enough time to tackle. “There are some areas in the old village area that were promised 15 years ago that they would get municipal services and that’s something that’s still on the drawing board, per se.”
Merkle said he will seek answers from appropriate city officials before making decisions. “If you are going to make decisions that are not popular, you want your decision to be based on sound information from the best sources that you have,” he said.
Peters, who has been on the council since 1978, said he hopes the race goes “fair and square.”
“I’m running because I’ve been here 32 years and I know what’s going on. I helped make (Clayton) what it is,” he said.
Peters declined to talk about a trespassing notice he received on Oct. 21 from Clayton Police and a disorderly misconduct charge that was filed against him in Vandalia Municipal Court in a case that resulted in him being trespassed from Northmont City Schools property.
Peters was trespassed from a Clayton woman’s home after she told police that he allegedly walked onto her property without her permission.
The disorderly misconduct charge was filed by Englewood Police after a Northmont City Schools administrative employee accused Peters of fondling one of her breasts while he visited the district’s office.
Peters said he is unconcerned whether the criminal charges will impact his chances at reelection.
“Some people like me and some people don’t and the ones who don’t, never will. So that’s just the way life is,” he said.
Horvath has lived in Clayton for eight years and said he is running for council because he wants to help the city be successful and prosperous.
He said he hopes his experience with serving on medical boards and being a national speaker for pharmaceutical companies and dealing with related issues will help him be an asset to the council.
“I have spent every working day of the last 30 years of my life solving difficult day-to-day life situations for kids and families in the most honest, objective and successful way possible,” Horvath said.
“I think it’s necessary to appropriately scrutinize utilization of current expenditures and policies. Therefore using our money as wisely as possible,” he said. “That ideally is necessary to allow us to support and maintain the infrastructure of Clayton.” City officials also should highlight the city’s assets to help bring in new housing and business growth, he said.
Kelly said she is runningbecause she wants to give back to the community that has been very good to her.
One of the issues that she would like to focus on is working with neighboring cities to bring economic growth to the area.
Kelly said she will be asset to the council because of her retail background.
“I feel like since this is my area of expertise, a retail background for the past 27 years, I feel like I can help the council strengthen its relationship with the independent businesses,” Kelly said.
Lieberman is following in the footsteps of his wife, Montgomery County Commissioner Debbie Lieberman, who is a former Clayton councilwoman. Chairman emeritus for the Montgomery County Democratic Party, Lieberman is a former member of the Montgomery County Board of Elections.
A position on council is a way to give back to the community, where he has been active in through the schools, athletic programs and other activities, he said.
“I can use the experience I have gained in politics, government and law and I can apply that to Clayton City Council to hopefully make Clayton a better place,” he said.
Lieberman said those elected need to focus on developing a vision for the city, along with the citizens, and a strategic plan to execute that vision.
“I know that we can use revenue in the Clayton-area. I know that we can use business, but I think we have to determine just exactly what is going to be our namesake,” he said. “When you think of Clayton, what are you thinking of? What’s going to be the one thing that Clayton stands out for?”
Voters guide: Learn more about Clayton candidates and hundreds running around the region in our interactive voters guide at vote.daytondailynews.com