SOUTH OGDEN -- Fiscal responsibility and bringing in new business to revitalize areas of the city top the issues list of six candidates hoping to fill three council seats.
Michael Jacobazzi, incumbent Sallee Orr, incumbent Wayne Smith, Brent Strate, Rick Westmoreland and Kelly Zaugg each explained their ideas to entice more companies to make their home in South Ogden.
Jacobazzi, 48, a computer literacy professor at the Ogden-Weber Applied Technology College, feels strongly about finding unique ways to offset the current economic trend that has affected South Ogden.
"Things are getting more expensive, and as a city, we need to come up with creative ways to expand our means while still living within our means," he said.
Continued exploration of state, federal and private grant money in addition to expanding the city's tax base with new businesses is something Jacobazzi feels he could best facilitate through his experience in business logistics before going into education.
Orr, 52, a part-time employee with Weber School District, led candidates through the primaries with 25.9 percent of the votes. Bringing new business to South Ogden is part of her larger goal of preserving a high quality of life for the city's residents.
"I think we can accomplish it through community revitalization, code enforcement ... building improvements for some of the older buildings and continuing to aggressively attract new businesses," Orr said.
She noted that the current council has implemented several plans to both enhance code enforcement and bring in new businesses. She said she'd also like to see the city put on a new face that really lets people know they are in South Ogden.
"We've talked about it a lot, and I'd really like to see something that sets us apart from the other cities," she said.
Smith, 44, has held a seat on South Ogden's council for the last four years and also boasts unique ties to area law enforcement as an acting sergeant with the Weber County Sheriff's Office.
Part of Smith's plan to foster new business in the city involves marketing the city in different forums and developing fresh potential from local sources.
"One of the things I'm working on right now is trying to work with Weber State and get some of the new graduates excited about staying in the area as they venture out into private business," he said.
"Let them know that there's nothing wrong with starting your first business here."
A veteran teacher of finance and financial literacy at Bonneville High School, Strate, 45, is wary about recently implemented utility rate increases and how they've affected entrepreneurship in the city.
"I'm concerned about the impact on just a few businesses that I thought were a little too much as far as the utility rate increases," he said.
"Of course, some of that was necessary, but I think the top rates are a little too progressive."
A few area businesses that use large amounts of water have been met with drastically increased rates -- especially when compared with other cities -- a fact Strate said could discourage certain owners from coming to South Ogden.
He cites his ability to evaluate situations from a cost- benefit analysis and to ask insightful questions as his strengths when it comes to sitting on the council.
"I think that I would be able to ask the right questions to possibly help avoid some of the problems we're having now. I want to be proactive instead of reactive to these problems."
Westmoreland, 41, a Davis County prosecutor and Army Reserve JAG officer, said his approach to bringing businesses to South Ogden means companies that will help expand the tax base.
"I think it would be real advantageous to have some restaurants here, or something like a Barnes & Noble or some sort of store that brings in that constant flow of business."
Westmoreland said, if elected, he'd like to see the city actively engage businesses to come to the city and feels that, while it would be nice to land a reputable chain, he'd also like to see some homegrown entrepreneurs set up shop.
"I look at that (Burch Creek) mercantile shop near 40th, and I think they've done a remarkable job in terms of having a small business that's come in and had a good stream of customers that purchase goods and then come back," he said.
Zaugg, a 50-year-old small-business owner, Iraq War veteran and recently retired South Ogden police officer, explained that his unique experience in both commerce and public service would bring an invaluable perspective to the city council.
"I think there is a way we can create public-private partnerships and have an impact on making some changes so that it's attractive for business investment," he said.
"We could do much better with our business tax base than what we're doing, and that would mitigate, I think, to some effect, some of the rising costs of utilities that right now are the entire burden of the community and the citizens."
Zaugg was the target of a recent anonymous letter sent to the Standard-Examiner pointing out his involvement as an Ogden city police officer in a 2002 scandal known as "Towgate" that led to his dismissal.
He said he was disappointed that personal attacks had been made over an issue that occurred nearly a decade ago and defended his background that he said has since been scrutinized by federal, military and local security- clearance organizations, including South Ogden.
"It's unfortunate that this election comes to this instead of dealing with the issues at hand."