BRIGHAM CITY -- Ten candidates are running for three open seats on the city council this year. Issues on their minds include ATK layoffs, attracting new business and keeping the community safe.
Ruth Jensen and Robert Marabella are seeking re-election, while Councilman Bruce Christensen chose not to run.
Challengers are Douglas Beazer, Daniel Eyre, Wilbur Fowler, Bonnie Germer, Wayne Johnson Jr., Brett Reeder, Brian Rex and Mark Thompson.
Job losses at ATK are the foremost issue for several candidates.
Thompson said because of the workforce reductions, the economic health of the city is stagnant at best.
The city council should reach out to new businesses, as growth would help replace job losses, he said.
He also said the council needs to be active in the retention of current businesses and should promote and have a preference for using services from within the city.
"Growth in and of itself should not be the focus of city government. Growth should come through long-term planning and selective inducements to preferred companies and industries," he said. "Quality jobs that sustain the current and growing population should be our target."
Thompson said the city council has at times tried to expand into areas better served by the private sector. Intrusion in commercial endeavors should be resisted unless no adequate alternative is available, he said.
Beazer said the ATK layoffs have spurred a great deal of anxiety and fear among local business owners, real estate agents and other residents.
"The effects of the layoffs have rippled into every business and every household in Brigham. We have witnessed a great increase in property foreclosures and short sales, given the vast amount of residents that are now unemployed or underemployed, which in turn has decreased the values of our homes," he said.
Beazer said one of the only solutions to the city's economic crisis is to attract new manufacturing businesses to create higher -paying jobs that can actually stimulate the economy.
Beazer favors creating an economic task force and a business-friendly environment.
Reeder said he believes the ATK layoffs have magnified the economic difficulties in the city and that the workforce reduction seems to be getting worse every month.
He said it's important for the city to attract new business. However, he added, it isn't always necessary for the city to give incentives to new businesses, because that can work against existing businesses.
"I would like to see more support for local businesses and also would like to see local businesses stay prosperous and be more competitive to attract more support," Reeder said.
Eyre said because of the ATK layoffs, the city has a large number of people without work and many others making only a fraction of what they once earned.
However, he said, he believes the city has a bright future.
"With the Brigham City USU campus expanding, we are sure to see an increase in commercial business coming to our area," Eyre said.
"Brigham City will be, and is, an extremely friendly place for any business, and as a member of the city council, I hope to encourage and welcome those businesses."
Jensen said the city needs to spend within its means during the economic slump. "We have lost jobs, with no new jobs to take their place."
She also said the city needs to continue to work toward attracting development that complements the city and helps to bring vitality for its future.
"Recruiting and tax incentives, reducing cost of permits. Impact fees would help make a flexible working relationship that could attract business," Jensen said.
Marabella has served as mayor pro-tem and was actively involved in the budget process this year.
"Brigham City is in a sound financial position. Sales tax revenue continues to recover from the previous two years," he said.
"We are excited to see recent economic growth within the downtown area. Two projects are under construction, which should continue the economic trend upwards."
Marabella said during down economic times, the city sees an increased demand on recreation programs. Keeping parks, sports programs, swimming pools and the library free to the community are vital to recovery, he said.
Germer said she is concerned about police, fire and ambulance service and wants to make sure these departments remain strong. She also said the city must maintain its infrastructure and ensure roads, water and sewer services are up to standard.
"The people must be involved, because the price of these large projects will be handed to the people to pay," she said.
Rex said all of Northern Utah is economically depressed, along with the rest of the world, and a lot of people are struggling financially. He said the city needs to manage its budget carefully so it doesn't add to the distress.
"I would love to see a Home Depot and/or Lowe's in Brigham City and lots of other new businesses, too. But what would I be willing to do as a city to attract them? Tax breaks for everyone, new businesses as well as existing businesses," he said.
Rex said he believes previous city councils and mayors mistakenly committed taxpayers to the UTOPIA fiber-optic network, which costs $35,000 per month and is increasing at 1.6 percent annually for the next 30 years. He wants to ensure this does not happen again.
Fowler said the economic status is not as good as it could be and the city needs to attract more business. He said the major issue is spending beyond the city's means, which puts an unfair burden on retirees, the unemployed and young families.
Johnson said the biggest challenge facing the city is the nation's poor economic position.
"It is a difficult task to keep up city services without putting a larger tax burden on the people of our city," he said.
"With the growing number of people being put on unemployment, tax increases are not an option. We need to consolidate operations in our city to the best of our ability and ensure that we are not spending money that doesn't need to be spent."
Johnson said living within one's means and getting and staying out of debt applies to governments as well as individuals.
"Government doesn't build the economy. People do."