BOUNTIFUL -- The Davis Chamber of Commerce tried something a bit unusual for the annual Mayors Luncheon.
Nine mayors from cities throughout the county sat at different tables Thursday -- among members of the Chamber -- rather than together at the same table. A topic was placed on each table, which created a lot of discussion.
"The mayors may or may not like their topic," said Chamber President Jim Smith, but he noticed the discussion going on and added, "This is going a lot better than we thought."
The mayors spoke about the topics given to each table and fielded other questions posed by the Chamber.
Although Ken Romney is the mayor of West Bountiful, he noted that the growth taking place on either side of Hill Air Force Base is a good example of technology growing within the county and how Davis Applied Technology College helps to train people in that type of field. The potential of job growth in the northern end of the county also is attracting people to his community, he said.
"We support what is going on there, bringing facilities to Hill Air Force Base," Romney said. "With Legacy (Highway) going through our city, it is so easy to get anywhere. It will help us to get through the recession and our economic troubles."
Syracuse Mayor Jamie Nagel said her city government has tracked the budget to make sure it has integrity, but that did not give citizens tangible results. The city is now trying to help businesses more.
Talk around her table was on trail systems through the cities.
"There is tremendous opportunity for more trails. Antelope Island is a tremendous draw for our city," Nagel said.
However, she also said cities need to work together for things such as an upcoming marathon that will go through both Layton and Syracuse and across Antelope Island.
"Cooperation among cities and the county for trails makes sense so we are not building a trail that ends 50 feet from where someone else starts," she said.
North Salt Lake Mayor Len Arave and his table talked about transportation issues and how there is a need for more north-south and east-west corridors throughout the county. Those are issues in his community.
He said his town has a lot of commercial potential and has easy access to Salt Lake City -- residents or business owners can get to downtown Salt Lake City in 10 minutes or to the airport in about 15.
"A lot of our development is happening right now," he said.
"We talked about one of the most emotional issues, dealing with education," said Fruit Heights Mayor Todd Stephenson.
Boundary changes are emotional, and his city deals with them more than some.
"We are the only city in the county that has no school," Stephenson said.
The consensus of his group was that there needs to be more public and private partnerships.
Stephenson spoke about the unique feature within his community, that the city has a two-party political system dating back to its founding. Sagebrush and Pinecone are the two parties; he is a member of the Sagebrush party.
"It is a great tradition to gather together and select municipal leaders," he said.
Layton Mayor Steve Curtis said, "Antelope Island is America's greatest eco-experience."
"We do have a gem here. Antelope Island attracts people from all over the world," he said.
His group's members discussed hunting on Antelope Island, and none of them felt hunting should be allowed.
"It takes coordination to achieve something," Curtis said.
Layton and Syracuse have been working together on the Antelope marathon.
Those at Centerville Mayor Ron Russell's table talked about immigration.
"Ours was emotional and interesting. There are no easy answers. There are human costs," Russell said.
They were happy that Arizona tackled the problem first.
"All of us in business know it is a tough economic climate out there," he said, adding that his city is doing better economically than the state or nation.
"I appreciate this format. We had a great discussion on residential versus commercial," said Farmington Mayor Scott Harbertson.
Harbertson said the city forefathers wanted Farmington to be a bedroom community, so the city has struggled to get a commercial base. The city is now encouraging commercial development on the west side of town, and is providing "cheap" advertising for local business owners in the city newsletter.
Harbertson's piece of business advice is "buy low and sell high."
Sunset Mayor Chad Bangerter said he had not heard of the upcoming marathon but he has seen signs on every corner for an upcoming gun show.
"We should be utilizing better advertising," he said.
He said northern Davis County has a lot of tourist attractions that should be drawing people to the area, such as Hill Air Force Base, Antelope Island and the hiking and biking trails.
Clearfield Mayor Don Wood spoke about how cities can use an economic incentive to bring more business and job development to the county.
"There should be state and local incentives," he said.
Clearfield brought ATK to the city using economic incentives. They will bring more than 800 high-paying jobs to the city.
"If they don't create jobs, they don't get the incentive," Wood said. "We are really a blue-collar community.
"We build trailers that take products to America. And there is a manufacturer of basketball hoops. You probably even have groceries in your kitchen processed in Clearfield," Wood said. "We are proud of that."
Smith said the Chamber is involved in every issue talked about at the meeting.
"We pull cities together in a way to integrate business," he said. "Let's make things happen."