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Massey challenging Klevan for Pos. 3 Alderman

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Alderman Dave Klevan, seeking his first full-length term after an abbreviated term, is being challenged by local business owner Dean Massey in the Nov. 8 Germantown city elections.

A native of Oxford, Miss., Massey earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in criminal justice from the University of Mississippi.

He moved to Germantown 14 years ago and opened Massey Insurance with his wife, Christine.

If elected, Massey said his goal would be to “reunite the community” and “regain their faith in government.”

“I think we’ve got a problem in the country, as a whole, where we have politicians who set their platforms to serve their agendas and take that to the people and try to get them to believe in their platforms,” he said in a recent interview on Germantown Municipal Television. “I think that is backwards. I’m hoping to reverse things. I want to get the people’s agenda through.”

While campaigning, Massey said he has learned that some residents feel they should have more of a say in pressing matters.

“Every time there is an important issue in Germantown,” he noted, “it seems there is a sense of urgency and immediacy to pass it before the people really have input. I’m hearing that people want to be given notice on these big issues a little bit sooner.”

For example, Massey said the public was not given enough time to address a recent vote by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen to examine land on a 31.3-acre site near Winchester Road and Crestwyn Drive for a future school.

“We basically got notice of this a few days before the (board) was supposed to vote,” he said. “The voters felt like they didn’t have any input before the decision was made.”

He added that the proposed project to realign Germantown Road and West Street also went against the wishes of residents.

The project was ultimately dropped in January after residents spoke out against the $2.4 million venture.

Massey said he believes the project has not been abandoned but simply delayed.

“I think when 2019 comes around,” he said, “they’re probably going to start that project up again. I would prefer not to have it. I like the way the community is situated right now.”

Massey said he would also push for “more transparency” regarding the city’s budget.

Noting that his information was “third hand,” Massey said that the budget “really isn’t itemized.”

He said the city’s board is asked to approve a “summarized version” of the annual budget “without really knowing where all the money is going.”

Lastly, Massey said he would push to regain Germantown’s three namesake schools.

“Getting those back would reinvigorate our city,” he said.

Klevan was appointed in January 2015 to serve the remaining two years of the Pos. 3 Alderman post that was vacant after the election of Mayor Mike Palazzolo.

Klevan and his family moved to Germantown in 1984. He is a graduate of Marshall University and a U.S. Army Veteran.

He is the principal/owner of Corporate Benefit Management Group, which offers employee benefits and other financial products and services to individuals and businesses.

He is a graduate of Leadership Germantown.

When asked about progress made within the city in the last four years, Klevan began with public safety.

“People move to this community because they want a safe and secure environment,” he said.

He noted that the police response time in Germantown is slightly over two minutes, “which is unbelievable.”

Commending the city’s paramedics, Klevan said there is also a 43-percent survival rate among cardiac arrest calls in Germantown.

“That is double the national average,” he noted. “That is an important statistic as we have an aging population.”

He pointed to education as another area of improvement within the city.

“There has been an explosion in the quality of education in the last three years,” he said.

He said the current Board of Mayor and Aldermen has also taken “financial responsibility very seriously.”

“Our annual budget has been award winning for the past 30 years,” he said.

Klevan further addressed recent economic development in the city.

“You see rooftops going up in subdivisions,” he said.

He noted that 13 new businesses have opened in the last 20 months and 13 more are coming soon.

He said the city’s Smart Growth Plan is “working great.”

Noting that the city is comprised of 20 square miles, only three of which is commercial, Klevan said the city must make “smart choices in the development base.”

“Density becomes an issue because we don’t have vast amounts of land,” he said. “We have to look at vertical development. So, we try to find places with the infiltration of young people into our community to live, work and play, all in the same area. This is the concept of smart growth.”

He added that young people are not buying homes like previous generations.

“Renters and condo owners are becoming more prevalent,” he said, pointing to the city’s recent projects centered around high end apartments and condominiums.

Regarding recent conversations over the site for a future elementary school, Klevan said the decision will ultimately be made by the Germantown Municipal School Board.

“We, as the Board of Mayor and Aldermen, are the managers of the funds (to pay for the project),” he said. “We don’t make the decision as to where the school will be built.

“We just make sure we’re not ‘school rich’ and ‘tax poor,’” he added.