Somerset Borough Council Minutes

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Meet the Somerset Borough Council Members and Staff

Meet the Somerset Borough Council Members and Staff

Public Comment Policy

The Pennsylvania Sunshine Act (65 Pa. C.S. 701, et seq.) provides that the Board or Council of a political subdivision shall provide a reasonable opportunity at each advertised regular meeting and advertised special meeting for residents of the political subdivision or for taxpayers of the political subdivision or to comment on matters of concern, official action or deliberation which are or may be before the Board or Council prior to taking official action. (710.1).

To assure compliance with the Act, to inform members of the public who may wish to make comment, and to provide for predictable and orderly implementation of the public comment period, Somerset Borough Council has adopted this Public Comment Policy.



2016 Council Meetings
7:00 pm at the
Municipal Building

January 25th
February 22nd
March 28th
April 25th
May 23rd
June 27th
July 25th
August 29th
September 26th
October 24th
November 21st
December 19th


*Council has traditionally rescheduled its November and December meetings based on the timing for budget adoption and the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.   The rescheduling will be done closer to these dates.

Borough of Somerset Council Meeting
December 19, 2016 – 7:00 p.m.

Meeting was called to order by President Ruby Miller, opening with recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag.

Roll Call
       Council Members Present:  Ruby Miller; Fred Rosemeyer; Judy Pyle; Pam Ream; Sue Opp; Steve Shaulis; Gary Thomas and Scott Walker, Mayor.

Also present were the following:  Borough Manager Michele Enos; Director of Finance Brett Peters; Chief of Police Randy Cox; Public Works Director George Svirsko; Solicitor James Cascio; and Consulting Engineers Tom Reilly and Jake Bolby.


  •  President Miller announced that an executive session was held this evening at 6:00 p.m. December 19, 2016 for the purpose of Collective Bargaining.

Approval of Previous Council Meeting Minutes

Mrs. Ream moved, Mrs. Opp seconded to approve the November 21st 2016 Council Meeting Minutes.
Motion Unanimously Carried

General Public Comments

  •  Mr. Jim Holliday was present to discuss his concerns over the Skiver property and whether the cleanup was funded through taxpayer’s dollars. Solicitor Cascio discussed what the Borough was planning to do to be reimbursed for those costs.

Administrative Business

  • Communication – There were no communications
  • Payment of Bills

Mrs. Opp moved, Mr. Shaulis seconded to approve the payment of the following bills:
Check Numbers: 28621-28745 Total Amount $295,555.92.

                                                                                           Motion Unanimously Carried
Policy Agenda

Old Business
There was no old business.

New Business

  • Tax Rate Ordinance – Consider the adoption of the Tax Rate Ordinance for 2017.



            BE IT ORDAINED AND ENACTED, and it is hereby ordained and enacted by the Borough Council of the Borough of Somerset, County of Somerset, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania:

            SECTION 1.  That a tax be and the same is hereby levied on all real property within the Borough of Somerset, subject to taxation for the fiscal year 2017 as follows:

            Tax Rate for General Purposes, the sum of 13.79 on each dollar of assessed valuation.

            For Mary S. Biesecker Public Library purposes, the sum of .666 mills on each dollar of assessed valuation.

            For Somerset Volunteer Fire Department purposes, the sum of .444 mills on each dollar of assessed valuation.

            The same being summarized in tabular form as follows:

                                                                                    MILLS ON EACH DOLLAR OF
                                                                                       ASSESSED VALUATION


Tax Rate for General Purposes                                                 13.79    Mills

Tax Rate for Mary S. Biesecker                                                    .666  Mills
     Public Library purposes

Tax Rate for Somerset Volunteer                                                .444  Mills
      Fire Department Purposes                                                             
                                                                             TOTAL:               14.9      Mills


      SECTION 2. That any ordinance, or part of ordinance conflicting with this ordinance, be and the same is hereby repealed insofar as the same affects this ordinance.

      Ms. Enos stated that the Tax Rate Ordinance was prepared with no tax increase for
the year 2017.  The millage remains at 14.9 mills, as it was last year, and the prior 5 years. There has not been a tax increase in the last 6 years.

Mr. Thomas moved, Mrs. Opp seconded to approve the Tax Rate Ordinance with the millage to remain at 14.9 mills for the year 2017.

                                                                                           Motion Carried 6 yes-1 no
(Mr. Rosemeyer voting no)

(b)Water Rate Ordinance – Consider the adoption of a Water Rate Ordinance
increasing the rate by $0.03 per 100 gallons effective January 1, 2017.




  • From and after the effective date of this Ordinance, the rate to be charged to all customers of the Somerset Borough municipal water system shall be SIXTY-SEVEN CENTS (0.67) per ONE HUNDRED (100) GALLONS of water.
  • All existing ordinances or parts thereof that are inconsistent herewith are hereby repealed.
  • This ordinance shall take effect January 1, 2017.

ENACTED AND ORDAINED this 19th day of December 2016 by the Borough Council of the Borough of Somerset.

Mrs. Ream moved, Mrs. Opp seconded to approve of a Water Rate Ordinance increase of the rate of $0.03 per 100 gallons effective January 1, 2017.

                                                                                           Motion Unanimously Carried

(c)Act 511 Taxes – Consider re-enacting the Act 511 Taxes for 2017 at current rates.

Mr. Thomas moved, Mr. Shaulis seconded to keep the Act 511 Taxes for 2017 at the current rate.
Motion Unanimously Carried

(d) 2017 Final Budgets – Consider adoption of the final budgets for 2017.  (General, Water, Sewer & Various Accounts)

Mr. Thomas moved, Mrs. Opp seconded to approve the adoption of the Final Budgets for 2017.           
Motion Carried 6 yes -1 no
(Mr. Rosemeyer voted No)

  (e) Lions Club Agreement – Consider executing an agreement with the Lion’s Club.

     Mr. Cascio discussed that there is a building, on the Borough playground property, constructed in the 1950’s or 1960’s that’s been occupied by the Lion’s Club.  There has never been a formal arrangement or agreement regarding that. If for any reason the organization doesn’t continue, they would like an arrangement in place to be able to terminate, and know that the building will revert back to the Borough. In the meantime, they would also like to clarify their obligations to ensure that the building can be located there.

Mrs. Opp moved, Mr. Thomas seconded to approve the Lion’s Club agreement and to have the Officer’s sign and authorize the agreement.

          Motion Unanimously Carried

  • Appointments to Boards & Commissions for 2017 – Consider appointments to

Boards & Commissions for persons whose terms are expiring.

            Somerset Borough Municipal Authority – Vincent Jacob (5-year term)

Mrs. Ream moved, Mr. Rosemeyer seconded to appoint Vincent Jacob to another 5-year term.
Motion Unanimously Carried

           Somerset Borough Planning Commission – Sean Garrigan (4-year term)
Mr. Rosemeyer moved, Mrs. Pyle seconded to appoint Sean Garrigan to another 4-year term.
Motion Unanimously Carried

            Somerset Borough Zoning Hearing Board – Timothy Resh & Dave Halverson (3-year term.
Mrs. Ream moved, Mr. Thomas seconded to appoint Timothy Resh and Dave Halverson to another 3-year term.
Motion Unanimously Carried

            Somerset Borough Vacancy Board – Delmas Hutzel (1year term)

Mr. Shaulis moved, Mr. Rosemeyer seconded to appoint Delmas Hutzel to another 1-year term.
Motion Unanimously Carried

Ms. Enos mentioned that there was a vacancy on the Somerset Borough Planning Commission. Ms. Enos received a letter from Sienna Davis who expressed her interest and desire to serve in this vacancy if Council so chooses to appoint her.

Mr. Shaulis moved, Mr. Rosemeyer seconded to appoint Sienna Davis to the Somerset Borough Planning Commission.

Motion Unanimously Carried

  •  Management Wages – Discussion on setting wages for 2017.

Mr. Rosemeyer moved, Mrs. Ream seconded for Management to receive a 2%
pay increase in the year 2017.
Motion Unanimously Carried

Committee, Administration, Special Reports

Manager’s Report

Ms. Enos presented the following report:

  • Nov 23rd Ms. Enos met with Maust Excavating to discuss the project timeline for the Hickory Hill Water Tank Replacement Project.
  • November 25th Ms. Enos met with Regina from Somerset Inc. to discuss the details for street closures prior to Somerset’s Light Up the Night.
  • Tom, Jake, and Ms. Enos will be arranging visits to our various facilities to assess infrastructure and maintenance needs. This will assist us in developing a long term plan to address those needs. Once that has been developed, Ms. Enos will circulate the information to Council.
  • Re-imbursement from the Jonas Storm was received: $29,300. This represents 75% reimbursement of our costs for the highest 48-hour reimbursable period.
  • We would like to thank Council for continuing our annual Christmas Party.

President’s Report
Mrs. Miller thanked the staff for a job well done on the streets and on all the Firemen’s calls and Police calls. She wished all employees and staff the best of Holidays.  Thanks, also, goes out to Ms. Enos and staff for a great Christmas party.

Engineer’s Report
          Mr. Reilly mentioned that we are waiting for the Hill Water Tank project to start construction in the spring of 2017, along with other projects. 

Public Works/Equipment Committee

  • Mr. Thomas thanked the Borough and Public Works for the good job they did in the last snow and ice storm. Mentioned the roads were in good shape.     
  • He mentioned that a Public Works meeting was not held.
  • Mr. Shaulis reviewed the work that was done in the past month:
  • Repaired a water leak of Crestview Drive.
  • Salting and plowing streets.
  • Worked on Christmas lights.
  • Installed street sign on North Rosina.
  • Repaired storm line in the Industrial Park.
  • Installed plow markers.
  • Final pick up of leaves.
  • Ordered 600 tons of salt.
  • Worked on Borough equipment to make sure it’s ready at all times for the weather.          
  • Daily/weekly/ monthly routine work, uptown trash pickup, PA One Calls, hauling of brush, sign repairs, pothole patching, gas detector calibration, weekly water sampling.

Public Safety Committee
            Mr. Rosemeyer mentioned that the Public Safety Committee met with the Mayor and Chief, and discussed a hospital security issue.

Finance Committee
Mr. Rosemeyer presented the following report for the finances through November, which is 91.67% through the Budget Year.

General Fund
Revenues = 93.85%
Expenses = 86.78%
Water Fund
Revenues = 97.94%
Expenses = 94.78%
Sewer Fund
Revenues = 87.18% 
Expenses = 71.08%

           Mr. Rosemeyer thanked Mr. Peters and Ms. Enos for doing an excellent job on managing the Budget.

Somerset Inc.

  • Mrs. Pyle stated that Small Business Saturday and Light Up Night was recently held. She stated that it went beautifully, and there was a lot of things to do.  She stated that the flow of traffic went well and everything ran smoothly.
  • The Cookie Tour went exceptionally well this year.
  • Mrs. Pyle stated that a lot of new things were going to be added with Fire and Ice this year in addition to the other things that are continuing.
  • Talks are being held presently about The Trinity Park Project. It is to begin as soon as the weather breaks. Mrs. Pyle stated that it is right on schedule.  She also stated that during the time of ribbon cutting, they would like to hold a Sidewalk Chalk Festival.
  • She also mentioned that holding a Harvest Festival in the fall is being discussed.
  • Mrs. Pyle also mentioned that there will be a Blues Festival held on the East End.
  • There have been discussions held about getting signs on the buildings in the Uptown Historic District that could tell about the history of the building. She mentioned that the people who wanted to place the signs were asked to pay for their own sign. The head of that committee found someone out of Vo-Tech who could do the work and make the price very reasonable.

Somerset Volunteer Fire Department
Mr. Thomas mentioned that the fire department has been very busy with over 20 calls in the last 10 days. They have been helping other fire departments with structure fires. They have been busy with automatic fire alarms and other weather related things like pumping basements. Calendars are still available for sale through the firemen.  The Fire Department has a banquet coming up, with installation of new officers, in January 2017.

Solicitor’s Report    
           The Solicitor had nothing further to report.

Mayor’s Report
Mayor Walker mentioned he was very impressed when he read in the paper, today, that Tom Reilly’s son was selected to the All-State Boys Soccer Team.           

Mr. Rosemeyer mentioned that our Police Department again has passed accreditation. Chief Cox mentioned that there are approximately 1,200 Municipal Police Departments in the Commonwealth. Of those 1,200, there are 108 that are accredited. Our Police Department is one of the 108. This works out to about only 8% that are accredited. So our Police Department will be accredited for 3 years.  We can be reaccredited in 2019.



            Mrs. Opp moved to adjourn, motion seconded by Mr. Shaulis.                                                                                                                                                           
Motion Unanimously Carried.
7:42 p.m.                                                                                                                                                        
Michele A. Enos, Borough Secretary