This week, residents will receive their mail-in ballots for the Nov. 5 general election.

For most of us that means voting on city council members and some mayors — whose selection may be the most important for the average citizen. It is in our city council meetings, mayors’ offices and county commissions that the biggest decisions are made to influence our taxes, our schools, local businesses, neighborhoods and public safety spending.

For all of those reasons and more, we encourage you to make the effort to attend any meeting or debate where candidates on your ballot will be discussing what they believe to be the top issues, and arguing why they should earn your vote.

After all, our cities make better decisions when the public engages with the voting process we have been blessed with by the Founding Fathers and the Constitution. An educated public, and by extension educated candidates, drive more thoughtful political decisions that look to the short and long-term visions of our communities.

To that aim, Weber State’s Olene Walker Institute of Politics and Public Service is hosting two separate debates between Ogden candidates on the ballot — Mike Caldwell and challenger Angel Castillo for a four-year term. That will be held at 7 p.m. today at Lindquist Hall, Room 101 on the WSU campus.

The second debate will feature Layton mayoral candidates Joy Petro and Joyce Brown at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Layton City Hall city council chambers, for which they are vying the remainder two years of the term originally filled by .

As the largest cities of Northern Utah, these positions are important to community development and are examples to many other smaller communities with fewer resources.

See what people are talking about at The Community Table!