It's an issue that's evident in the number of rooftops, the dwindling farmland, the crush of traffic in the morning and early evening.

Syracuse has a challenge with growth.

Over the past five years, population in this northern Davis County city has more than doubled. With the people has come a need to build new roads and utilities, to provide opportunities for recreation and leisure.

All with a limited budget.

While the city's administration says they have handled the challenges well, at least 10 residents say they can do better. On Oct. 4, these residents will face off in a primary election for the chance to become mayor or to hold one of two open city council seats.

Most of the candidates are political newcomers challenging two incumbents, Mayor Fred Panucci and councilman Lurlen A. Knight. Two are running against Panucci, the other eight are seeking a council seat.

A brief biography of each candidate is featured below.

Panucci, 51, has been mayor for one term. He owns an advertising business and serves as vice-chair of the Davis Council of Governments. Panucci says the future of Syracuse is dependent on careful planning.

"We cannot afford to make mistakes," he said. "I believe it is essential for Syracuse to carefully manage our growth and I will continue to make this one of my highest priorities. Though our growth rate has been one of the fastest in the state, Syracuse continues to grow in a positive manner."

Amy Buttars, 30, is a mother of three girls. She owns her own law practice and has never run for political office. Buttars is one of two residents seeking to unseat Panucci. She says planning for growth can be done better.

"We need to plan for growth in a way that accommodates everyone's ultimate desire of maintaining quality of life and not becoming a carbon copy of every other little city," she said. "I know we're going to get a Super Wal-Mart, but beyond that, what can we do to differentiate ourselves?"

Bill Williams, Ph.D., is a 47-year-old "citizen soldier" running for mayor. He does Internet business research and is an active member of the Army Reserve. He once ran for Syracuse City Council.

"Rapid growth, while not a issue, creates the issues that my neighbors and I wake up to each morning," said Williams. "From schools to electricity, from traffic to secondary water, each of these 'issues' is exacerbated by the amazing rate that new residents are added to our bedroom community."

• At 22, Joshua E. Hughes is the youngest resident running for the city council. He is a business owner and has no previous political experience. Growth in Syracuse should be managed with "smart growth" planning, he said. Development should be "controlled and diverse."

Knight, 45, has served four years on the council. He works as a security specialist. He has assisted with planning for a downtown city center where Wal-Mart will soon locate. Top issues facing the city include economic development, traffic control, education and recreation.

Michael Dean Lawton, 35, is a service manager at Tony Divino Toyota. He has no previous political experience. Syracuse needs new leadership, he said. The city's tax base should be expanded, but luring stores like a Super Wal-Mart is not the way to do it, he said.

Stuart Montgomery, 40, works in textile sales. He is a political "newbie." Like others, he says growth in the city can be managed better. Schools should be built faster, retail should come sooner. "Things need to be happening here," he said.

Jeffery Orn, 45, is an automation electronic technician. He has served 15 years in various assignments with the Boy Scouts. Orn wants to bring more business into the city. "I want Syracuse to be a place that anyone else living here would be proud of," he said.

Phillip Orton, 35, is a service advisor at Westland Ford. He has served two years on the Syracuse Planning Commission. Important issues include commercial development, parks and recreation and public safety. "We need a council person with experience," he said.

Doug Peterson, 32, is a school teacher. He has lived in Syracuse all his life, watching it grow from a farming town to one of the fastest-growing cities in Utah. "I would like to see that growth managed wisely, while striving to maintain a feeling of community and neighborhood," he said.

Marc Webb, 36, is a financial advisor and a federal screener for the Transportation Security Administration. He has no previous political experience. "I'm running because I feel like the city is going in the wrong direction with regards to revenue and how they're handling the growth," he said.

Wesley M. White, 59, is a retired Air Force pilot. He works as an educator and has no previous political experience. "The most challenging issue for the city is to accommodate and manage growth while maintaining values and enhancing quality of life," he said.


E-mail: nwarburton@desnews.com