As cities and towns struggle to meet budget requirements and keep operating, many areas of government that previously provided free services to the public are coming under scrutiny.
In the past, Helper did not charge for services that the city's planning and zoning board provided.
But last Thursday, the Helper City Council enacted a system of charges to be handed out for planning and zoning applications, processing fees and related services.
"Over the years, the city has been eating these costs and we really can't do it anymore," said Councilmember P.J. Jensen as he presented the fee schedule to Helper officials on Jan. 8.
During the meeting, there was some debate over the adoption of the schedule.
"I just want the council to realize this is a departure from what we have done before," said Mayor Mike Dalpiaz. "These are some pretty high costs."
Jensen reiterated that the cost are high compared to what has been charged.
"We haven't charged before," said Jensen. "But this schedule is comparable to what Price city is charging their residents."
Under the approved plan, a conditional use permit will cost $50.
A preliminary/final conditional use permit will be $100, 1.5 percent of the project value or whichever is greater.
Within subdivisions, the concept approval fee will be $10 per lot, preliminary approval will be another $20 and the final approval will cost $45 per lot.
Other fees will include lot line adjustments ($75), subdivision plat amendments ($150), a board of adjustments variance ($100), rezoning ($250 plus $5 per acre), zoning verification ($60) and a special meeting of Helpers planning and zoning board will cost the person that requests it $400.
Any special meetings that are called by an individual or entity (those not scheduled at a regular time) must be consented to by those on the board.
In another area of city responsibility, the council rejected the transfer of the cable television franchise from Precis to Emery Telcom. The request was made by Emery Telcom because they are in the process of purchasing Precis.
"This whole thing gives me heartburn," Mayor Dapiaz told the council. "I think we all have some real questions about service problems that have been happening already. I also worry about this being too much of a monopoly for one company to hold all this in our town."
The board expects that Emery Telcom will put themselves on the agenda to explain their position at a future board meeting as the purchase of the one company by the other should be taking place within the next couple of months.