How did we become a Borough?
Somerset Borough was laid out in 1795 and incorporated in 1804. Named for Somerset County, the Borough was designated as the county seat when Somerset County was formed from Bedford County in 1795. The name "Somerset" derived from the same name in England. Located in the central portion of Somerset County, Somerset Borough is surrounded by Somerset Township, with Quemahoning, Lincoln and Jefferson Townships to the west, and Stoneycreek and Brothersvalley Township to the east. The area is drained by Coxes Creek, which empties into the Ohio River.
The Borough of Somerset has a land area of 2.895 square miles, or 1,344 acres. Recent data indicates that there are:
- Four parcels of agricultural land
- 283 parcels of commercial land
- 117 parcels of tax exempt (government and non-profit agencies) land
- 13 parcels of industrial land
- One parcel of mineral land
- Six parcels of public land
- 2,235 parcels of residential land
Somerset Borough, with a 1990 population of 6,454 is the physical and community hub of Somerset County. It is the only town having an entrance to the Pennsylvania Turnpike within its Borough limits. In addition, one interstate and two highways are routed through the center of town. U.S. 219, providing north-south movement through Pennsylvania, utilizes North Center Avenue and East Main Street. PA Route 31, providing east-west passage, traverses Patriot Street as well as East Main Street. The State Legislative Route 55067-55043 also passes throughout our central business district.
Increases in population, and commercial and industrial establishments, have increased the demand for upgraded water and sewer facilities, etc. Our water treatment plant can now produce two million gallons per day, with average daily pumping of 1.5 million gallons. Our sewage treatment plant has been expanded to twice its original capacity. We can now treat up to two million gallons of sewage a day and can accommodate up to five million during peak development in the Borough for years to come.
What is a Borough?
The Borough of Somerset is an incorporation unit of local government.
A "borough" is an urbanized area where property owners have sought services and/ or protection not provided by another unit of government. Citizens elect a seven member council which is the legislative and policy making body. The term of office is four years. Approximately half of council is elected every two years. Every second year, the council picks one of its member as president, who chairs the meetings.
A mayor is elected. Under the Pennsylvania Borough Code, he is the administer of the Police Department. He can also veto ordinances (local laws) passed by the Borough Council.
Council can also appoint a Manager (professional government administrator) whom it can delegate authority. In Somerset, he directs all departments.