Inside Somerset

By: Benedict G. Vinzani Jr., Ph.D.
      Borough Manager

May 2014

1. WHO’S WHO IN SOMERSET BOROUGH GOVERNMENT?

Your Somerset Borough Council consists of Ruby Miller, President; Fred Rosemeyer, Vice President; Judy Pyle, President Pro Tem; Pam Ream; Sue Opp; Steve Shaulis; and Gary Thomas. Scott Walker is our Mayor.

2. ARE THERE PENALTIES FOR ALLOWING ANIMALS TO “DISTURB THE PEACE”?

Yes. Somerset Borough Ordinance # 1300 provides penalties when noise caused by an animal, (howling, barking, meowing or squawking ,etc.) is permitted for a continuous period of thirty (30) minutes, or intermittently in excess of sixty (60) minutes; and when such noise can be heard by persons not on the property where the animal is kept. The owner or keeper of the animal will be warned once orally or by a written notice within twenty-four (24) hours of the violation by the Somerset Borough Police Department after a police officer verifies such violation. In the event the noise is permitted to continue after the oral or written warnings, each occasion that the police officer verifies a violation in accordance with the foregoing time periods shall constitute a separate offense, and the verifying police officer/designee may file charges at the District Justice's office for every subsequent and separate offense. The complainant shall appear at the hearing before the District Justice. Any person who shall violate or fail, neglect or refuse to comply with any provision of this Ordinance shall, upon conviction thereof, be sentenced to pay a fine of $25.00 and costs for prosecution for each and every offense.

3. SOMERSET BOROUGH’S RECYCLING PROGRAM

In September of 1991, the Borough of Somerset began mandatory recycling, as required by act 101 of the Pennsylvania State Legislature. This meant that every residential property and every business in Somerset Borough needs to separate waste into recyclable and non-recyclable materials. Here are the major provisions of our recycling program:

• Each residential owner or occupant is required to separate glass, colored glass, and aluminum cans, as well as leaf waste. Additionally each residential owner or occupant needs to authorize a Borough of Somerset licensed hauler/collector to regularly collect these recyclable materials.

• The commercial, institutional and municipal establishments, in addition to separating clear glass, colored glass, aluminum cans and leaf waste, are required to separate high-grade office paper and corrugated paper. This requirement also applies to fairs and community events.

• Any commercial, institutional and municipal establishment which has otherwise provided for the recycling of these materials may be exempted from the requirements of the recycling ordinance. To be exempted, such establishments must provide written documentation on an annual basis concerning the number of tons recycled. Forms are available at the manager's office.

Here are some suggestions for participating in any recycling program:

  • Set aside some storage space for your recyclables. This storage space doesn't have to be inside, but it should be clean and out of the rain because water and dirt in containers interfere with recycling.
  • If you don't have a special container for your recyclables, you can use any sturdy container from your house such as a cardboard box, crate or bucket.
  • Rinse recyclable beverage and food containers to help keep insects away.
  • If you collect a lot of recyclables, crush or flatten plastic bottles, aluminum cans and steel cans to save space. But if you don't use that many items, don't worry about crushing or flattening because the recyclers will do it with specialized machinery.
  • Do not crush glass bottles. The recyclers use machines to crush the glass themselves.
  • Try to buy items in containers that can be accepted by our recycling program and centers.
  • Another way to reduce household trash is by creating less trash in the first place, a process known as source reduction.

For more information regarding Somerset Borough’s Recycling Program, visit our website at www.somersetborough.com

4. PROPERTY MAINTENANCE AND CODE ENFORCEMENT

As a reminder to Somerset Borough residents, the Borough’s Code Enforcement Department will continue to enforce the Property Maintenance Codes and the High Grass Ordinance. Common causes for violations being issued are: grass exceeding 6” in height; garbage around the property; structural deficiencies; and unsecured vacant structures with broken windows / open doors etc.

5. STREET MAINTENANCE / “ANTI-SKID” MATERIAL / AND STREET SWEEPING

We realize that there may be an accumulation of “anti-skid” material on sidewalks left over from the winter. Please do not sweep this material into “piles” or place any material in the portion of the street where vehicles travel. Our street sweeper will continue to clean streets several times each week as necessary.

The Borough has been repairing potholes on its streets. The following streets, although located within the Borough are owned and maintained by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation: Main Street; Franklin Avenue; Patriot Street; Tayman Avenue; Center Avenue; Felgar Road; Pleasant Avenue; Cannel Drive (except the 100 block); and the Gilmour Bypass.

6. NO SIGNS ALLOWED ON TREES, POLES

Somerset Borough reminds residents not to place signs on trees or utility poles. The Somerset Borough Zoning Ordinance prohibits signs from being attached to trees or utility poles. Recently there have been incidents of yard sale signs being placed on trees, utility and sign poles, as well as traffic signal poles. This is a violation of Section 183-34 of the Somerset Borough Zoning Ordinance, and is subject to a fine of up to $250 per day for each violation.

7. QUESTION: MAY LEAVES AND YARD WASTE BE BURNED OUTSIDE ANSWER:

No. Because grass fires can be easily caused by outside burning, the Borough of Somerset has discontinued allowing leaves and yard waste to be burned outside.

8. RECENT ACTIONS BY SOMERSET BOROUGH COUNCIL

• Reappointed Mona Herrell; William Simmons; and Marsha Dykstra to the Mary S. Biesecker Public Library Board of Directors.

• Proclaimed May 1st as Somerset Inc Day in Somerset Borough marking the Twentieth Anniversary of our Main Street Program.

• Authorized preparation of updates to the Rules and Regulations of the Somerset Borough Civil Service Commission.

• Appointed William Meyer to the Somerset Borough Civil Service Commission to complete the term of William Simmons, who resigned.

• Authorized disposing of municipal records in accordance with the Commonwealth’s Records Retention and Disposal Schedule.

9. FIRE SIREN TO BE “SOUNDED” ON FIRST SATURDAY OF EACH MONTH

Beginning June 7th the County 911 Center will be “sounding” the Fire Sirens in town on the first Saturday of each month at approximately 12:30 pm. This is to insure that the sirens are operating properly.

10. WHEN ARE BUILDING PERMITS REQUIRED?

With the arrival of warmer weather, here are some tips for those planning construction projects: Permits are required:

• To construct, enlarge, alter, or demolish a structure.
• When sanitary facilities (water / sewer) are added.
• When a proposed change occurs in the use of a building.
• When driveway construction is planned.
• When fencing is erected.
• When streets are excavated.

A comprehensive listing of activities requiring permits is available at our Inspections Department; by calling Building Inspector Tom Jury at 445-5595; and on our web site www.somersetborough.com.

11. BOROUGH OF SOMERSET 2013 ANNUAL DRINKING WATER QUALITY REPORT AVAILABLE (PWSID #: 4560042)

We are pleased to present to you our Annual Drinking Water Quality Report. This report is designed to inform you about the quality water and services we deliver to you every day. Our constant goal is to provide you with a safe and dependable supply of drinking water. We want you to understand the efforts we make to continually improve the water treatment process and protect our water resources. We are committed to ensuring the quality of your water. The report is available online at http://www.somersetborough.com/ccr. If you would like a paper report delivered to your home, please call 814-443-2661.

Este informe contiene información muy importante sobre su agua potable. Tradúzcalo ó hable con alguien que lo entienda bien.