With crime on the rise over the past year, Helper City is now in need of a full- time court clerk. Thus, on Dec. 3, the city council approved a measure that will make the current part-time position full time.
"Justice court numbers are up dramatically. There have been 30 percent more citations, DUIs are up (and) assaults are almost double; I strongly recommend that we place Joy on full time with benefits," said Mayor Mike Dalpiaz.
Mayor Dalpiaz indicated that, although rising crime rates are bad for society, they represent increased revenues for the city in the form of fees and fines. He estimated that the additional cost of a full-time clerk would be around $20,000 per year. However, this is only an estimate. With the increased revenue, the council believes any additional costs should equal out. On average, the clerk's total weekly hours are around 32. It was determined that at full-time status, the position would add about six hours per week.
The mayor also presented a plan for the city to more aggressively pursue its outstanding warrants, which he believes could increase city revenues significantly.
"I think we could substantially increase our revenue if someone could start aggressively attacking these warrants," said the mayor.
While most of the outstanding city warrants (400) are likely out of reach, the mayor indicated that he believes many offenders are still in the area and can be actively pursued. However, no action was taken and it will possibly be discussed again.
In other business, Councilman Dean Armstrong informed the council that a couple of changes needed to be made regarding a retaining wall at the city's pool, which is currently being renovated. Amounting to around $5,000 in additional costs, the changes were approved and the money will come from the city's road funds.
"We had some design changes. We had to make the vehicular barrier wall about two feet deeper and extend it, but I think it's looking pretty good over there," said Armstrong.
Finally, the council decided to raise the lease on property being utilized behind the Key Bank in Helper. For decades, the bank, according to the council, has leased the land for $15 per year. However, the lease is up and the city will now charge $350 per month for the space, and has given the bank the option to buy.