LAYTON — Layton City officials hope a new website will bring new business to town.
Earlier this month, the city launched LaytonEcon.org, a site that city Community and Economic Development Deputy Director Lon Crowell said will target businesses, site selectors and other entities looking to relocate to Layton.
Layton has long leaned on a strong sales tax base and has one of the busiest commercial districts in Northern Utah. When the Layton City Council adopted a 25% property tax increase last year to pay for a new fire station, it was the first property tax increase in the city in more than 30 years. According to information provided by the city, Layton took in nearly $16 million in sales tax revenues in 2019, more than double that of Bountiful, the next closest city in Davis County.
The city is also a major employment center for Davis County and Northern Utah, bordering Hill Air Force Base, the largest single site employer in Utah. Other major employment sectors include health care, education, finance, hospitality and manufacturing.
But the city was dealt a pair of blows earlier this year in the aftermath following the outbreak of COVID-19. In June, J.C. Penney announced it would close its Layton Hills Mall store and Bed Bath & Beyond announced that 285 employees would be laid off at the company’s Layton call center.
Generally speaking, Crowell said, the city’s economy is still in good shape and other large retailers have moved in since the J.C. Penney closure. Burlington Coat Factory is opening a store this fall at 1780 N. Woodland Park Drive and RC Willey built a new store at 2205 N. 1400 West in Layton.
RC Willey President Jeff Child and CEO Scott Hymas said Davis County’s economy, particularly its epicenter in Layton, drove the relocation.
Crowell said continuing to recruit new businesses to the city is key to keeping the sales tax base strong, particularly with so many unknowns related to the ongoing pandemic.
“We just feel like we need to keep being aggressive,” Crowell said. “And a lot of the information we’re providing on the website — from incentives we offer, what it’s like to do business here, demographics — wasn’t really easy to track down (for prospective businesses). We feel like now it is.”