The Helena-West Helena City Council addressed the community's need for a code enforcement officer at last week's session.
“It was to my understanding that we have a code enforcer, a Mr. Shelton,” stated councilman Don Etherly. According to Chief of Police Uless Wallace, officer Sean Shelton returned to work with the Helena West Helena Police Department full time and currently holds the position of code enforcement officer.
Former code enforcement officer, Patrick Allen informed the council that he would like to return as the city's code enforcer but with an increase in salary.
“I was originally working as the code enforcement officer for a salary of $26,000 with 4 years experience and the proper training,” said Allen.
According to Allen, he wasn't asking for more pay at the time of his employment due to the city's fiscal distress. However, he stressed, an increase is needed if the city hires him back. Allen is willing to return to work for $28,000 and encouraged the council to consider his proposal because it would benefit the city and the citizens of Helena-West Helena.
“Code enforcement can be financially beneficial to the city if you let the system work,” said Allen. “It can actually produce revenue if you allow the system to do what its supposed to do.”
Allen added that code enforcement could assist in the productivity of police, street and other departments within the city. Allen said he feels that his services are essential and vital to the city.
“We've got to cut back and trim out the unnecessary financial burdens on the city such as the municipal golf course and the community center so we can pay Allen to do the work that needs to be done because we can't even pay our bills right now,” commented councilman Joe St. Columbia.
Currently, water department heads are addressing city plumbing issues and it is the understanding of the City Clerk Sandi Ramsey that Allen was training to be an electrical inspector, which does not require an electrician license.
Ramsey added that Allen is also very familiar with the building codes and permitting.
From a financial standpoint, the city needs to fill this position in order to ensure that a lot of the current city issues are resolved.
“We look silly when we can't even tell someone how much a building permit is,” said Ramsey.
Councilman Eddie Clark made a motion to hire Allen as code enforcement officer. According to councilman John Huff, a recommendation to hire Allen has been made in the past and the mayor did not approve the recommendation because the council was interfering with daily operations.
The Motion passed.
Mayor Arnell Willis was away on a trip to Tanzania when the council session was held.