In a drawing of lots to break deadlocked city council balloting, Ed Chavez Jr. became the new mayor of Helper Thursday night. The council was evenly divided, 2-2, between Chavez and incumbent councilman and mayor pro tem Kirk Mascaro. After two rounds of voting, the council and candidates agreed to settle the matter by having City Attorney Gene Strate draw the winner's name out of small wicker basket held by City Recorder Jona Skerl.
Chavez had served 15 years on the Wellington City Council and is a former county chair of the Democratic Party. He returned to his native Helper about two years ago. Mascaro has served on the Helper City Council for 13 years.
During his interview before the vote, Chavez told the council that the major challenge facing Helper is an aging population that is not being replenished by younger people moving in. He said the city's massive infrastructure improvement soon to begin is "long overdue," and supports the city's efforts to transform the Price River through town into a tourist attraction.
Walter Borla, the third candidate on the ballot, received no votes. However, Borla said he was grateful for the opportunity to appear before the council and express his opinions, especially about promoting and improving the city's Mining and Railroad Museum.
Chavez will take his oath of office Friday at 11 a.m. in Helper City Hall. He will fill the unexpired term of Dean Armstrong, who resigned Feb. 23. The mayor's position is up for election in November.
More details will be in Tuesday's Sun Advocate.