On Oct.1, the Helper museum received a total of $300,000 from the Community Impact Board (CIB) to expand and upgrade the Western Mining and Railroad Museum. Although half of the money was a loan which will be paid back over the next 30 years, the other half was a grant. Construction on the museum has been ongoing for several months.
The city council voted on Oct. 14 to accept the money. The city will pay $5,000 per year at zero percent interest for the loan with a sales tax security.
"Everything was approved and it went well," said Councilman Kirk Mascaro, who secured the money.
In another city improvement, the council accepted a bid from Pieracci and Siapers Construction for a low bid of $106,928 to provide landscaping around the city pool.
"This will be a wonderful asset for the city," said Mayor Mike Dalpiaz.
The city cemetery's limited expansion possibilities, a long standing city issue that, like so many others, concerns space, was also discussed. A cemetery expansion is currently planned, but council members have also been discussing the possibility of stacking graves. This proposal, while not uncommon in other areas, has been proposed as an option for those who buy plots in Helper. There would be a limit of two graves per plot. Plot cost will remain consistent, but internment fees will likely increase for the additional space needed.
"Down the road, it's probably going to save us money, but at some point we will have to expand the cemetery," said Mr. Dalpiaz.
Expanding the Helper cemetery is expensive, because the rocky terrain makes digging difficult and dynamite must be used. In all, the general concept of grave stacking was accepted by the council, but many details are forthcoming. Some possible interment fees include $450 for a lower grave and $250 for the upper, if a plot owner decides to choose the stacking option, which will only be available for newly-dug graves.
Another standing issue involves a broken Rocky Mountain Power meter that the council has discussed several times. The meter, which gave incorrect measurements of city power usage for about a year, has caused the company to bill the city about $60,000, which is disputed. Possible litigation could result, but Councilman Dean Armstrong has voiced concern that few precedents exist and that it might be in the best interest of the city to settle. Currently, no action has been taken, but the council is responding to a letter from RMP and is hoping for a compromise.