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
October 24, 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 W. Miller; Fred Rosemeyer, Sue Opp, Steve Shaulis, Judy Pyle and Gary Thomas.   Mayor Scott Walker was also present.

Not Present: 

Council Member Pam Ream not present.

Also in attendance:

Borough Manager Michele Enos; Police Chief Randy Cox; Public Works Director George Svirsko; Solicitor James Cascio; and Consulting Engineer Jake Bolby.  

Approval of Previous Meeting Minutes

            Motion offered by  Mrs. Opp,  seconded by  Mr. Thomas to approve the Borough Council Meeting Minutes of September 26, 2016.

                                                                                                Motion Unanimously Carried.

Payment of Bills

            Moved by Mrs. Opp, seconded by Mr. Rosemeyer to pay the following bills:

            Check Nos.  28336   to   28478 
Total Amount:  $629,797.66
Motion Unanimously Carried.

New Business

  • Resolution No. 2016-16

            Ms. Enos explained that this Resolution authorizes depositing the annual Commonwealth funding into our Borough Pension Plans.

Moved by Mr. Thomas, seconded by Mrs. Opp to execute the following Resolution:                                 

            WHEREAS, the Borough of Somerset has received a direct deposit from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania dated September 23, 2016 in the amount of Two Hundred One Thousand, Two Hundred Thirty Three and 72/100 ($201,233.72) Dollars, representing the Commonwealth’s allocation from the General Municipal Pension State Aid Program, and;
WHEREAS, Act 205 of 1984 provides that pension allocations must be deposited in the Municipal Pension Plan within thirty (30) days of receipt by the Municipal Treasurer, and;
WHEREAS, the governing body must determine by resolution the amount to be distributed into its various plans;

            NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that Fifty Eight Thousand One Hundred Ninety Eight and 72/100 ($58,198.72) Dollars be allocated to the Non-Uniformed Collective Bargaining Pension Plan; and One Hundred Forty Three Thousand Thirty Five and 00/100 ($143,035.00) Dollars be allocated to the Police Pension Plan.

Unanimously Carried.

(b) Resolution No. 2016-17

Ms. Enos explained that this Resolution authorizes the Redevelopment Authority of Somerset County to submit an application on behalf of the Borough of Somerset for the Year 2016 Community Development Block Grant funding.
We receive this funding as one of the entitlement communities in the County.  The allocation for year 2016 is $101,640.00 for the Borough, not including the 18% administration charge of the Redevelopment Authority. She recommends approval, and pointed out that there is an eligible list of projects that can be considered.


            WHEREAS, the State of Pennsylvania has made available to the Borough of Somerset certain funds under the Community Development Block Grant Program Act of October 11, 1984, (P.L. 906, No. 179) and;

            WHEREAS, the Borough of Somerset recognizes the necessity and need to provide assistance to communities in the development of long range Community Development Plans designed to address significant local needs with emphasis on benefit to low and moderate income families, and;

            WHEREAS, the Borough of Somerset recognizes the necessity and need to provide assistance to communities in administering Community Development projects designed to address a number of significant Community Development needs identified in the Community Development Plan, and;

            WHEREAS, the Borough of Somerset recognizes the necessity and need to encourage and assist communities to focus upon and address housing and community facility problems, and;

            WHEREAS, the State of Pennsylvania Bureau of Housing and Development, Department of Community & Economic Development has mandated that the Borough of Somerset must meet certain legal and procedural requirements as delineated in P.L. 906, No. 179, and;

            WHEREAS, the Borough of Somerset recognizes the need and necessity of meeting these legal and procedural requirements;

            NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Borough of Somerset, Borough Council do hereby authorize the Redevelopment Authority of Somerset County to submit an application for assistance to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Community & Economic Development on its behalf as follows:
Funding in the amount of $101,640 will be used for a storm sewer/street/road improvement project on Oak Street, Burgess Street, Cherry Lane, Market Drive and Plank Road, plus administrative costs.

Motion offered by Mrs. Opp, seconded by Mr. Rosemeyer, to authorize execution of Resolution No. 2016-17.
Motion Unanimously Carried

(c) Cooperation Agreement with the County of Somerset and the Redevelopment Authority of Somerset County

Ms. Enos pointed out that this Agreement is in conjunction with the 2016 Community Development Block Grant Program. The Agreement is for the administration of these grant monies.     

Mr. Rosemeyer moved, Mrs. Opp seconded to execute the Cooperation Agreement with the County of Somerset and the Redevelopment Authority of Somerset County for administration of the Year 2016 Community Development Block Grant Program.

                                                                                                Motion Unanimously Carried.

(d)  Agreement with the PA Municipal Code Alliance
This is an Agreement with the PA Municipal Code Alliance for building inspection / code enforcement services for Somerset Borough residential and commercial properties. Ms. Enos explained that our Inspection Officer will be absent for a period of eight weeks, therefore to continue with inspections and building code requirements we contacted the PA Municipal Code Alliance located at the Georgian Place Mall that contracts out to other municipalities.
The rate is $45.00 per hour. Our Solicitor made several changes to this Agreement.

          Moved by Mrs. Opp, and seconded by Mr. Shaulis to execute the Agreement between the Borough of Somerset and the PA Municipal Code Alliance.

Motion Unanimously Carried.

(e) Buy Local Policy

At the request of the Public Works Committee, Ms. Enos was asked to bring the Borough’s “Buy Local Policy” to Council for discussion and their opinion.  
Mr. Thomas said the Public Works Committee is looking to save the Borough money. He said he would like to keep the purchasing policy the same except adding in Somerset Township businesses. With various parts departments in the Township, we can look for a better money value for the Borough, for more competition.
It was mentioned that this would most likely need to be re-written, to avoid creating another problem.

Mr. Thomas, moved, seconded by Mrs. Opp, to authorize Solicitor Cascio to look into the “Buy Local” and “Central Purchasing” policies.
Unanimously Carried.


Committee, Administration, Special Reports

(A) Manager’s Report  

Ms. Enos presented the following report:

  • Our last Parking Ordinance Amendment now permits the Chief and Mayor to suspend metered parking during special events; holiday season, etc. We will continue with this process if Council wishes.
  • The Storm Water Project along South Kimberly Avenue will begin pending execution of the necessary rights-of-ways.
  • The Public Works Committee met on October 5th.
  • Chief Cox and I met the new Executive Director of Somerset Inc. to discuss preparations for upcoming events such as light-up night, Fire & Ice festival, etc.
  • On October 7th a meeting with EADS was held to discuss GIS System (Global Information System) for mapping water and sewer lines.
  • October 11th I met with Pam, Fred and members of Somerset Inc., the Economic Development Council and the Redevelopment Authority to meet with Senator Pat Stefano. We pointed out some Uptown Business District issues.
  • October 12th the first Public Hearing for use of our 2016 CDBG monies was held – the second Public Hearing was held this evening at 6:00 p.m.
  • October 18th a meeting was held with George Svirsko and Chuck Glessner, PennDOT, and the Turnpike Commission to review new sidewalk construction along the new bridge proposed over the Turnpike on North Center Avenue.
  • October 19th I attended a meeting with the Lions Club and their attorney concerning the building on our Union Street Playground property. We are discussing an Agreement between both parties.
  • October 21st our Finance Committee met - their report will follow.
  • Just a reminder that next month’s Council meeting was moved to November 21st.

(BPresident’s Report

  • The Christmas Tree will be placed uptown on November 6th - Light Up Night is November 26th.
  • The County Boroughs Association meeting is November 17th, which will be the Election Night.
  • A reminder was given of an Executive Session to be held tomorrow night at 5:30 p.m.

(C)  Engineer’s Report

Mr. Bowlby said there are no new projects to add and that old projects are moving forward. He offered to answer any questions.   

(D)  Public Works & Equipment Committee

Mr. Thomas reported:

  • The Public Works Committee did not have a meeting tonight. He mentioned the previous meeting concerning trees, purchasing policies, and street paving.  
  • The fire rubble on West Main Street is being addressed.
  • Fire plugs will be “color coded” this Spring.

 Mr. Svirsko reported:

  • We had workers from the Department of Corrections do some work.
  • The storm sewer line along West Garrett Street was completed.
  • Our “3-year Lead and Copper Sampling” was completed.
  • Broken storm lines at Columbia and West Fairview streets were repaired.
  • The 2 x 4 x 6-foot blocks were placed along Cherry Lane to help with flooding until this streambed is re-done.
  • Water leaks at Circle Drive and South Kimberly Avenue were repaired.
  • Curbs were installed at West Garrett, Harrison and Clover Hill Road.
  • Compost arrangements were delivered at several houses in the Borough.
  • Traffic light sensors were cleaned / repaired.
  • We sprayed and cut grass along the two triangles at the East Main Street and Plank Road Intersection.
  • We assisted Rockwood School students to decorate the Elephant at Eat N Park Restaurant.
  • Today we begin our annual two-week leaf collection pickup,
  • In addition, we performed our daily and weekly trash collection, grass hauling, water sampling, pothole patching, gas detector calibrations, street sweeping, and sign repairs.

(E)  Public Safety Committee

It was reported that a brief meeting was held in which they reviewed parking problems; no solutions were decided at this time.

(F)  Finance Committee

Mr. Rosemeyer provided this month’s Finance Committee Report:

            General Fund:

Revenues: 86.55%
Expenses: 67.27%

            Water Revenue Fund:

Revenues: 81.18%
Expenses: 77.71%

            Sewer System Fund:

Revenues: 71.64%
Expenses:  58.98%

(GSomerset, Inc.

Mrs. Pyle reported:

  • Somerset Inc. will have a Member Meeting scheduled for November 16, 2016 at 5:30 p.m. at the Servpro Building.
  • Our Economic Development Committee is looking at improvements to empty store fronts and boarded windows.  An idea offered was to ask Laurel Arts to consider placing art work in empty spaces. 
  • Merchants Committee Light-Up Night is November 26th.  

(H)  Somerset Volunteer Fire Department          

Gary Thomas reported the following:

  • The Fire Department began a new year, and they are up to 17 calls as of October 1st.
  • They will assist the Borough with Christmas decorations and breakfast will be held at the fire station at 7:00 a.m. on November 6th.
  • Calendars are for sale as a fund raiser for the Fire Department for 2017.

(I)  Solicitor’s Report

Mr. Cascio mentioned that, concerning their Building at the Union Street Playground, the Lion’s Club may have some ideas to offer by next meeting.     

(J)  Mayor’s Report

  • Mayor Walker stated that they will add free metered parking from Light-Up Night through the first of the year, with Council’s approval.  (“Timed Parking” will still be in effect.)
  • Concerning Light-up Night, the Chief of Police had previously mentioned the idea of closing the 100-block of North Center, the 100 block of South Center and 100 block of West Main Street.  This would add to the event, to remove traffic from this area for a short time during Light-Up Night. PennDOT approved this request.  Traffic control would be needed for the detour to close this area.  He suggested trying this for at least two events.  A detour would be added from Pleasant Avenue to the Diamond.
  • Mrs. Miller asked about any street regulations during the Fire & Ice Festival, and was informed that we do not establish a detour since fireworks are of short duration. 
  • Regarding Veterans Day, the Chief explained that there were no special requests, but we do block-off East Union Street from Center Avenue to Court Ally for the Military Support Group’s Candlelight Vigil.  We do this also for the Overdose Victims Memorial and the National Day of Prayer, and try to cooperate with all groups.


Mrs. Opp moved, seconded Mr. Rosemeyer, to adjourn at 7:41 p.m.

                                                                                                            Unanimously Carried

Michele A. Enos, Borough Secretary