Somerset Borough Council Minutes
Council Minutes will be posted after they are approved at the following meeting.
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.
2013 Council Meetings
*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.
SOMERSET BOROUGH COUNCIL MEETING
October 28, 2013 – 7:00 p.m.
Meeting was called to order by Ruby Miller, Council President.
Council Members present: Judy Pyle, Fred Rosemeyer, Wanda Miller, Scott Walker, and Ruby Miller. Also present: William Meyer, Mayor; Benedict G. Vinzani, Jr., Borough Manager; Michele Enos, Assistant to the Borough Manager; Brett Peters, Director of Finance; George Svirsko, Director of Public Works; Tom Reilly, Consulting Engineer; Jack Dirienzo, Borough Solicitor; Randy Cox Chief of Police; and Jerry Lyons, Somerset Fire Department.
Minutes of the previous Council Meeting were approved, on motion of Mrs. Pyle, seconded by Ms. Wanda Miller.
Mr. Vinzani presented bid tabulations for Crushed Stone and Asphalt, showing lowest responsive bidder. In case of a tie, we select the nearest supplier, for less pickup costs.
Item No. To: Price
1. 2-A Stone, delivered Garrett Limestone $10.50
FOB New Enterprise $ 7.75
2. Anti-Skid, delivered Garrett Limestone $17.50
FOB Garrett Limestone $15.00
3. 2-B Stone, delivered Garrett Limestone $13.70
FOB New Enterprise $10.45
4. Dust, delivered Garrett Limestone $10.50
FOB New Enterprise $ 8.00
5. #4 Stone, delivered Garrett Limestone $13.70
FOB New Enterprise $10.45
6. 1-B Stone, delivered Garrett Limestone $17.50
FOB New Enterprise $14.50
There were no bids from Garrett Limestone for the final four blacktop items. Award is recommended to New Enterprise, in the following amounts:
9.5 MMR $67.25
25 MMR $56.00
Stockpile Patching $106.75
J-1 Blacktop $95.00
Mr. Walker moved to approve the bid awards as recommended above - motion seconded by Mrs. Pyle.
Jerry Lyons, Somerset Fire Department
Mr. Lyons reported on Fire Department activities. Earlier in the month they were receiving two or three alarms per day.
National Fire Prevention Week was held this month; they conducted drills, stressed public awareness of fire prevention measures, and are beginning fund raising activities. Council was thanked for their continuing support.
Cherry Lane Properties
Regarding a water issue on Cherry Lane properties owned by Kevin Miller , the Borough built a retaining wall in front of the houses. Sediment will be removed from the stream, along with a video evaluation of the pipe. A small stream is causing problems during storms, and an evaluation was requested.
Our Director of Public Works, Mr. Svirsko, explained that while attempting to video the area they lost the camera because of a hole in the bottom of the pipe, and had to retrieve it.
Signs at Property Along Tayman Avenue and Harrison Avenue
Sue Opp described a problem in her neighborhood regarding a house with numerous distracting signs placed in the yard, plus various yard decorations and other activities. Neighbors are asking for assistance in enforcing codes.
Police Chief Cox pointed out that the Police Department cannot take action against signs in the yard. Mr. Vinzani said sign permits can be reviewed. There are sign regulations for each zoning district, regarding square footage, etc., and it is not known whether these signs are in violation. Mr. Cox said signs do not come under any police action, however police respond to calls of open burning if it is in violation of the Ordinance, but only if it is occurring at time of the call. He offered to discuss this further, privately.
Payment of Bills
Ms. Wanda Miller moved to pay the following bills – motion seconded by Mr. Rosemeyer:
Check Nos. 22650 to 22872 Total Amount: $997,681.71
Mr. Walker moved to change the December Council meeting date from December 23, 2013 to December 16, 2013 – motion seconded by Mrs. Pyle.
Mr. Rosemeyer presented the Finance Committee’s recommendation for the following donation requests: the Somerset County Flag Committee, USS Somerset and Somerset, Inc.
Mr. Walker moved to donate $100.00 to the Somerset County Flag Committee, motion seconded by Mrs. Pyle.
Mr. Rosemeyer moved to donate $100.00 to the “USS Somerset Commissioning Committee” – motion seconded by Mrs. Ruby Miller.
Carried (Mr. Walker voted No)
The Somerset Inc. donation request is tabled until the November meeting.
Mr. Walker moved; Mr. Rosemeyer seconded, to table the Somerset Area Ambulance Association donation request.
Committee, Administration, Special Reports
Mr. Vinzani presented the following report:
He attended two Light-up Night Committee meetings were held since last meeting and described the planned Uptown Activities:
He and the Director of Public Works attended a Road Surface Management Seminar sponsored by Southern Alleghenies Planning & Development Commission.
He attended a Customer Service Webinar, sponsored by PSAB. Arrangements for our employee Right-to-Know Annual Training are being made. This training provides awareness of hazardous chemicals in the workplace.
Our Finance Committee met on October 11, 2013.
Adoption of our Year 2014 Tentative Budget is scheduled for our November meeting, with adoption of our final budget scheduled for the December meeting.
The Public Works Committee will provide an update on leaves collected.
Next leaf collection begins the week of November 18, 2013.
Christmas decorations will be put up at 7:00 a.m. this Sunday, beginning with breakfast in the Community Room.
President Miller suggested providing a brochure consisting of various information such as permits needed, etc., to those buying a home in the Borough. This will be prepared, for distribution to realtors.
Mr. Reilly reported on a job conference held with the water tank contractor. The tank will be in service before Thanksgiving. They will begin demolishing the old tank, which will take two to three weeks.
Public Works/Equipment Committee
Mr. Walker reported the following:
The Department completed the summer work on streets in the Borough.
They worked on signs and fire hydrants, installing markers on them in preparation for winter.
Two new handicapped spots in front of the VFW were painted and marked, as approved at last meeting.
They addressed several catch basin projects; calibrated parking meters uptown, and are getting our trucks and snowplow equipment prepared for the winter season.
Public Safety Committee
Mr. Rosemeyer provided the following Public Safety Committee review:
They met on October 14, 2013 with the Police Chief and Mayor.
Topics included the Sergeant’s Position discussion, and which shift each officer should cover.
Year 2014 Budget requests.
Purchase of another vehicle for the K-9 Unit, through Federal or State surplus funding.
Two motorcycles are on order.
Consider producing a report to show department actions and activity.
The jail investigation and need for re-opening.
They spoke about who is in charge when the Chief is away. Chief Cox has been meeting with the Director of Finance concerning the 2014 budget. Line items are basically the same. The equipment request is for a file server and for the K-9 Unit, at approximately $10,000. Safety vests for the police must be replaced every five years. Only the line officers will be getting new vests, a mandatory safety requirement.
Mr. Rosemeyer presented the following Finance Report:
- General Fund
- Water Fund
Revenues: 117.20% (includes a PENNVEST loan received).
Revenues without PENNVEST loan are at 79.39%.
Expenses: 110 percent, with the PENNVEST waterline project
Expenses without the PENNVEST waterline project is 74%
- Sewer Fund
Discussion followed, concerning donation requests received. Mr. Rosemeyer said the Somerset Area Ambulance Association was given four quarterly payments of $845.25 in year 2009, and asked how Council wishes to proceed.
Mr. Vinzani said this is for budgetary purposes for year 2014. Ms. Wanda Miller said State law requires Act 8 information on where the money is spent. Mr. Vinzani said this is being considered, they have complied, and it was submitted. Budgeted amounts for these requests need to be individually approved during next year; therefore it could be authorized to be paid next year. He explained that during the budgetary process we can adopt a budget containing a line item for community affairs, to include an amount for donations of this nature.
Mrs. Pyle explained that the next donation request of $757.80 to Somerset, Inc. was not reviewed by the Finance Committee. It is for brochures for the Fire & Ice Festival; they did not receive any grants.
Mr. Rosemeyer pointed out that we need to consider upcoming pay raises; for the Borough’s administration. The recommendation from the Finance Committee is 3% for year 2014.
Discussion followed; Ms. Wanda Miller said she wishes to see if taxes are to be raised before voting, and Mr. Peters said there is still work to be done with the budget.
Mr. Rosemeyer voted to table this decision until November – motion seconded by Mr. Walker.
Somerset Inc. Representative
Mrs. Pyle reported on Somerset Inc. activities. They are planning the Fire & Ice Festival and mentioned about a Town Portrait.
They are maintaining the uptown park, and seeking grants. Newberry’s is planning mini-lease spaces for artistic workshops and they are doing landscaping around the building, with opening date scheduled during the Fire & Ice Festival. They plan to tour empty buildings, and attempt to make connections with those that might be interested. The Town Portrait would be part of the Somerset Inc. 20th Year Celebration, for anyone interested in becoming a part of it.
Mr. Meyer stated that their new officer, Christine Hemminger, will be sworn in next month instead of this month, because of scheduling conflicts.
Ms. Wanda Miller described the various conferences she attended, consisting of a crime scene demonstration, recognizing possible dangerous personalities, and the ability to calm aggressive, violent-type persons.
Common labor and employment problems were reviewed: timekeeping, consequences of off-duty contacts, injuries, and employee dismissals.
Mr. Rosemeyer spoke about installing cameras throughout high crime areas of the city, considering an alarm system, and suggested seeking possible grant monies.
Ms. W. Miller moved to adjourn, seconded by Mr. Rosemeyer.
Unanimously Carried, 7:59 p.m.
Benedict G. Vinzani, Jr., Ph.D.
Somerset Borough Manager/Secretary