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Three Salt Lake City Council members and Mayor Ralph Becker traveled to the nation's capital last weekend for the Congressional City Conference hosted by the National League of Cities. The conference runs through Wednesday.

Among other things, Kyle LaMalfa, Erin Mendenhall and Lisa Adams will meet with congressional representatives and other officials in an effort to gain insights into how federal policies will impact cities.

The trip's cost — about $8,724 — will be covered by the city.

Becker is the organization's first vice president; as such the league paid for all his travel expenses. He will become president in November.

According to the organization, the conference "ensures the nation's cities a seat at the decision-making table with members of Congress, the White House and federal agencies looking for solutions to addressing the nation's most pressing challenges."

Not only does the confab allow city officials to rub shoulders with the feds, it also gives them insights into how other cities are coping with today's challenges, said Council Chairman Charlie Luke, who did not make the trip this year.

The conference also offers training sessions "that are valuable, especially when it comes to budgeting," Luke said Monday. "For a part-time council, it makes sense to do some training."

Further, it gives council members insights into "best practices" of governing at the municipal level, Luke said.

"Every issue we deal with, other cities deal with — sidewalks, roads, nuts-and-bolts issues," he said. "This gives us a chance to exchange notes, and often we come back with ideas on how we can make changes locally."