Somerset Borough Council Minutes

Council Meeting Minutes will be posted after they are approved at the following meeting.

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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.

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2017 Council Meetings
Municipal Building

January 23rd
February 13th
Committee of the Whole Meeting - 5 PM
February 27th
Council Meeting 7 PM
March 13th
Committee of the Whole Meeting - 5 PM
March 27th
Council Meeting 7 PM
April 10th
Committee of the Whole Meeting - 5 PM
April 24th
Council Meeting 7 PM
May 8th
Committee of the Whole Meeting - 5 PM
May 22nd
Council Meeting 7 PM
June 12th
Committee of the Whole Meeting - 5 PM
June 26th
Council Meeting 7 PM
July 10th
Committee of the Whole Meeting - 5 PM
July 24th
Council Meeting 7 PM
August 14th
Committee of the Whole Meeting - 5 PM
August 28th
Council Meeting 7 PM
September 11th
Committee of the Whole Meeting - 5 PM
September 25th
Council Meeting 7 PM
October 9th
Committee of the Whole Meeting - 5 PM
October 23rd
Council Meeting 7 PM
November 13th
Committee of the Whole Meeting - 5 PM
November 20th
Council Meeting 7 PM
December 11th
Committee of the Whole Meeting - 5 PM
December 18th
Council Meeting 7 PM

 

*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 23, 2017 at 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; Sue Opp; Steve Shaulis and Junior Council Member Maria Weimer.  Absent were Council Members Pam Ream; and Gary Thomas; and Mayor Scott Walker.

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

Announcements:

(a) None

Approval of Minutes of Previous Meetings:

 (a) September 11th, 2017 – Committee of the Whole Meeting Minutes

Motion
Mrs. Opp moved, Mr. Rosemeyer seconded to approve the September 11th, 2017 Committee of the Whole Meeting Minutes.

                                                                       Motion Unanimously Carried 

 (b) September 25th, 2017 - Borough Council Meeting Minutes

Motion
Mrs. Opp moved, Mr. Rosemeyer seconded to approve September 25th, 2017, Borough Council Meeting Minutes.
Motion Unanimously Carried 

Award of Bids:

 (a) None

General Public Comments:

(a) none

Administrative Business:

(a) Communications – (None)

 (b) Payment of Bills

Motion
Mr. Rosemeyer moved, Mrs. Opp seconded to approve the payment of bills numbered 30087 – 30223, totaling $654,779.45.

Motion Unanimously Carried
Policy Agenda:

Old Business:

 (a) There is no old business.

Mr. Rosemeyer briefly discussed the PSAB Conference he recently attended in the Poconos.  He mentioned that it was a very good conference.  One of the topics discussed at the meeting was that a Borough with paid fire fighters was denied their appeal in PA Supreme Court.   He stated that this Borough paid the Fire Fighters hourly wages, controlled their work schedules, and controlled the hiring and disciplinary processes.       

Solicitor Cascio stated that this case is something to be careful about as you’re structuring things in support for the Fire Department.   

Mr. Rosemeyer stated that another issue being discussed at the PSAB Conference was the Real Estate Tax Credit for Volunteer Firefighters.  He stated that this is going to be an excellent thing to help keep volunteers.  He stated that they will actually get a Real Estate Tax Credit from the Borough.  He stated that there are some guidelines, though, that they will have to follow.  He stated that it might be costly, but will be another tool to get and keep volunteers for the Volunteer Fire Department state wide.  He stated that this bill has already passed. 

Solicitor Cascio stated that another feature of this bill also contains an optional Earned Income Tax Credit, as well, for those who do not own real estate.

Ms. Enos stated that Somerset Township requested a joint meeting with Council and the Supervisors, so that we can discuss this bill. She stated that we share services with the Township, such as the Fire Department, that goes into the Township.  She stated that Somerset Township wanted to make it all “uniform.”  This will be discussed at an upcoming meeting.

      Mrs. Pyle mentioned that under the Economic Development, Somerset Inc. had 13 plaques sold, and there are more interested in getting these historic plaques put on their buildings. 

She stated that the second phase of Trinity Park is finished.  They have applied for a grant for the third phase. 

Mrs. Pyle mentioned that they also applied for some small grants that they have gotten no response from yet.       

She stated that the Holiday Open House is scheduled for November 9th-11th.  “Light-Up Night” and “Small Business Saturday” is November 25th.   Cookie Tour and Santa visits are December 2nd.   Somerset Inc. is also looking very seriously at an outdoor ice rink to be located in the Somerset Trust parking lot.

Mrs. Pyle stated that they are also working on a “co-working space” where people who work from home, in the business sector, share space so they can feel more involved with one another.   

      Mr. Shaulis stated that the Fire Department finally finished up with the ISO rating.  He stated that the Department has been a Class 4 as long as he can remember.  He stated that they came very close to moving back to Class 5 this year.  He stated that if this would have happened, it would have been disastrous for the Borough.  That would have meant some major premium adjustments for a lot of the businesses in the Borough and in the Township.  He stated that he is unaware of all the details of it yet.  He stated that the Fire Department got hit really hard on some of their training.  He stated that they got nailed on all the sets of gear they have.  Mr. Shaulis stated that all their members do not attend calls, and they had too much gear on the racks.  Mr. Shaulis mentioned that they have to do an ISO rating every 10 years, where the Fire Department is evaluated from a previous 10-year period. He stated that as he gets more details, he’ll have that for the Committee of the Whole Meeting.

      Mr. Bolby stated that the Sludge Pump Project is complete.  He also stated that there are only a few punch list items that remain at the Hickory Hill Tank, and those will be completed very shortly. 

New Business:

(a) Resolution No. 2017-10 – Authorizing the deposit of Commonwealth Monies in Borough Pension Plans.

Resolution No. 2017-10

           WHEREAS, the Borough of Somerset has received a direct deposit from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania dated September 27th, 2017 in the amount of Two Hundred Twenty Thousand, Two Hundred Thirty-Six and 16/100 ($220,236.16) 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 Sixty Four Thousand Eight Hundred Thirty Eight and 16/100 ($64,838.16) Dollars be allocated to the Non-Uniformed Collective Bargaining Pension Plan; and One Hundred Fifty Five Thousand Three Hundred Ninety Eight and 00/100 ($155,398.00) Dollars be allocated to the Police Pension Plan.

ADOPTED this 23rd day of October 2017.

 Motion
Mrs. Opp moved, Mr. Shaulis seconded to authorize the deposit of Commonwealth Monies in Borough Pension Plans.
Motion Unanimously Carried       

 (b) Resolution No. 2017-11 – Authorize the elimination of member contributions to the Police Pension Plan.

Resolution No. 2017-11

            WHEREAS, Ordinance No. 1144, Section XI relating to the Police Pension Fund states that the monthly contributions for participants may be reduced or eliminated by an
annual Resolution if an actuarial study annually indicates that such reductions or elimination for that year will not adversely affect the actuarial soundness of the fund, and;

    WHEREAS, a letter from John S. Mincin, E.A., F.C.A., M.A.A.A.,., M.S.P.A.
Consulting Actuary, Dunbar, Bender & Zapf, Inc., states “that the Borough may eliminate employee contributions in the Police Plan for 2017 …..


        NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the five (5) percent contributions from
Police Officers for the year 2017 be eliminated. 

      ADOPTED this 23rd day of October 2017.

Motion
Mr. Rosemeyer moved, Mrs. Opp seconded to authorize the elimination of member contributions to the Police Pension Plan.

Motion Unanimously Carried

 (c) Proclamation – Antibiotic Awareness for the Month of November 2017.     

Mr. Rosemeyer read this Proclamation out loud to all in attendance.  

Proclamation

Antibiotic Awareness Month

The discovery of the first antibiotic in 1928 ushered in a new era in medicine. Lives were saved, illness severity was limited, and otherwise-risky operations were made possible because antibiotics were available and active against the disease-causing bacteria.  Over the decades that followed, antibiotic overuse and misuse resulted in the development of resistance that undermined the positive gains realized from their use.  Antibiotic Awareness Month is an important opportunity to raise awareness about responsible antibiotic use so these agents are available for future generations.

Antibiotic resistance is quickly becoming one of the most pressing issues of our day. In the United States, millions of infections and thousands of deaths each year are attributable to an infection from a multidrug resistant organism. Inappropriate use and prescribing of antibiotics along with agricultural use of these agents plays a significant role in the development of resistance amongst bacteria. Antibiotics work by destroying bacteria or by preventing their growth and spread, allowing for a person’s immune system to fight the infection. Bacteria present in the body naturally and some of the invading bacteria may be resistant to the selected antibiotic. As the antibiotic works in the body, these resistant bacteria are allowed to multiply resulting in worse infections that are more difficult to treat. Using antibiotics inappropriately, such as taking antibiotics for infections caused by viruses like the common cold, using the wrong dose, or taking the antibiotic for the wrong length of time, greatly increases the odds of bacteria developing resistance.  These antibiotics may be rendered completely ineffective in the future as a result. Such infections are costing the country tens of billions of dollars in health care expenses. Of even greater concern, patients’ lives are being put in danger as the possibility of contracting an antibiotic resistant infection is ever more likely and outcomes become more severe. This is not a problem that can be put off any longer. The time to act is now.

A steadfast commitment to appropriate antibiotic use is essential to addressing the growing public health crisis. Together let us join in the worldwide efforts to ensure appropriate antibiotic use and limit misuse and overuse. The availability of future treatment success is dependent upon our collective action today. Inaction is not an option if we wish to ensure viable antibiotics are available for future generations.

NOW, THEREFORE I, Scott A. Walker, Mayor DO HEREBY PROCLAIM the month of November to be Antibiotic Awareness Month in Somerset Borough, and I encourage all citizens to observe the month by encouraging responsible antibiotic use and raising awareness to the dangers of misuse and overuse.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this 23rd day of October, in the year of our Lord two thousand seventeen.  

Executive Session None requested.

Adjournment:

      Mrs. Opp moved to adjourn, motion seconded by Mr. Shaulis.                                                                                                    

Motion Unanimously Carried
7:25 p.m.                                                                                                           

_____________________________________
Michele A. Enos, Borough Manager/Secretary