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Helper amends parking rules

Sun Advocate reporter

During last Thursday's public meeting, Helper council members approved changes to the city parking ordinances and showed support for amending the current criminal forfeiture statute.

Due to the city ordinance changes, residents in Helper are no longer allowed to park any unregistered vehicles on any public road or street without being cited.

The original ordinance allowed an unregistered vehicle to be parked on a public roadway for up to 72 hours.

The ordinance also stipulates that any vehicle with registration which is more than 90 days expired can be impounded if parked on a public road or street in Helper.

The police department will not start to enforce the ordinance until the first of February to allow people to become familar with the parking guidelines, explained Chief George Zamantakis.

A related ordinance amendment regarding winter parking was also approved by the Helper Council.

From Nov. 1 to March 1, no vehicle may park on a public road or street in Helper between the hours of 2 a.m. to 8 a.m.

Initially, the ordinance allowed cars to be parked on the streets between the early morning hours unless it was snowing or the plows were out.

Zamantakis said the new ordinance, which was placed into effect last week, should help reduce the amount of citations issued when unexpected weather appears and make plowing more efficient as well as less hazardous.

"Our hopes are that people will get in the habit of pulling their vehicles off the roadways overnight to help with snow removal and also ensure that they aren't in violation," he stated. "Citations aren't what we want to hand out and is the last thing we want to give, but going door to door isn't an option due to man power and time with taking other emergency calls."

The council also considered a resolution requesting their support for amendments to the current state law on criminal forfeiture.

In 2001, an initiative on forfeitures was passed at the state level which redirected funds away from state and local law enforcement agencies.

According to the resolution, the agencies are no longer able to use the resources to offset the cost of drug enforcement, leaving taxpayers with the financial burden.

The initiative is currently being revisited with the intent of correcting elements that have been deemed flawed and allowing a portion of the funds to return to local and state agencies for the purpose of drug related enforcement and rehibiliation.

Helper city council signed the resolution supporting the proposed legislation.

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