WEST POINT -- To catch a glimpse of what is potentially at stake in the city council election, according to the five candidates running in the primary, one need only look at the Davis County town's neighbors.
Neighboring cities, the candidates say, have been successful in luring businesses, while West Point has been unable to do the same.
"Our economic development is important to our survival," said Andy Dawson, a current council member attempting to retain his seat. "If we don't have businesses, that ends up on the backs of taxpayers ... One of the main reasons I ran in the first place is to expand the economic base in West Point."
Brogan Fullmer, who, according to city records, ran for a council seat in 2011 and lost by fewer than 100 votes, described the issue as "a vision of the future" and said bringing in business is vital for expanding the city's tax base.
"If you look at West Point's surrounding neighbors, they've made an effort to recruit business," Fullmer said, adding that West Point should look at rewriting city codes to invite business. "I'd like to be proactive for our search of business and build an environment that's good for them."
However, as much as West Point's neighbors are an example of where the city needs to head, the neighbors also may hinder the city's ability to bring in business.
"We're a little behind the eight-ball because of our neighbors," said current Councilman Kent Henderson, who is attempting to keep his council seat. "New businesses like to go where their competition is."
Candidate John Detamore, who has served on West Point's planning commission, said the council should explore offering tax incentives to businesses, which would make the city more inviting.
"Having been a business owner in the past, you have to offer incentives for people to come," he said.
Candidate Eric Braegger said his time on the Draper police force has made him efficient at solving community problems, and he agreed that luring businesses should be a priority. However, he said, it should be done in a way that engages residents and enlists their opinions.
"What are people in the community who it affects most thinking about it?" he said. "We need to talk to residents ... We need to find solutions that make sense for everyone."
Dawson said Home Depot and Lowe's both looked at West Point when building new stores in recent years, but in both cases went to Clinton instead. Part of the problem is a lack of funds and business infrastructure to lure businesses to the city.
"The only thing we can do is make West Point as nice and inviting as we can, and I think we've done that," he said. "We've got a very nice city with good roads and (city) infrastructure, and I think that's what's going to bring business."
The primary is scheduled for Aug. 13. The top four vote-getters will run in the November general election for two open council seats, both holding four-year terms.