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Helper council reviews power meter dispute

Councilmember Dean Armstrong makes a point while Mayor Mike Dalpiaz listens during the Oct. 1 meeting.

Sun Advocate reporter

In an effort to solve a power meter issue involving $62,000 and Rocky Mountain Power. Helper city council has obtained a legal opinion and discovered that the bill can only go back 30 days, not an entire year.

The issue has its roots with a malfunctioning power meter that was determined to be about a year behind on readings. Once the problem with the meter was discovered, the company billed the city $62,000, an amount which the council has disputed. Although about $3,000 was dropped from the initial charged amount, possible legal action is still pending.

"This is litigation; that's why we're doing this," said Helper Mayor Mike Dalpiaz during the last council meeting on Oct. 1. "Our position, I think is that if it breaks (the meter) it's their problem."

According to councilman Dean Armstrong legal action might be anything but simple because few if any precedents have been set on such cases. Armstong went on to suggest the possibility of a settlement to avoid complications. There may be a possible executive session at some point to further evaluate the issue.

In an on-going effort to enlist city support, the Green Team a local recycling effort, presented the council with some options concerning recycling as well as an opportunity to show support for the team.

"What we need from you now is to appoint a board member to come our meetings so when grant money comes in we can get a letter of support (from the city)," said Jeanne McEvoy the Green Team chair to the council.

The council did agree to support the team by choosing a representative and by participating in a study, but a few questions did arise.

"Both the Mayor and I do support it, (recycling) but are you looking for us to designate a pickup and drop off point?" asked Mr. Armstrong. "You're going to have some level of clean up and sorting, but also contamination."

Green Team representatives acknowledged that contamination is a problem, but informed the council that they have studied different areas and hope to run the system as cleanly as possible should the operation materialize.

On another issue, pertaining to public safety, city fire fighters have informed the city that they would like to see some additional compensation when they are called out to out of city fires such as the one is Scolfield earlier this summer. When city crews are called out to such fires the city is given money that typically goes into the general fund.

However not much information or specifics were available and the issue will likely be presented at a later date.

Finally the 20th annual Helper Light Parade will be taking place on Dec. 5 and the council was quick to congratulate all those who are making the event possible.

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