The leaders of three Iowa cities are in Boston for the U.S. Conference of Mayors, which opened Friday and concludes tomorrow (Tuesday). Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie says the gathering is a great place to exchange ideas about solving common problems.Cownie says “We all face similar issues regarding a reduction in budgets and states are facing that, the federal government is facing that and of course that all flows downhill to cities and it’s reflected in reduced funding to lots of different programs.” One program that’s taking a great deal of money on all levels of government is increased security, which Cownie says is important, but it’s a challenge, given the tight budgets. Cownie says “Cities are first responders and what we’re trying to figure out is how best to get those dollars into the hands of those people that will respond to any of those disasters that happen, whether they be natural or terrorist-originated.” The mayors of West Des Moines and Cedar Rapids are also among the 200-plus mayors attending the national conference.