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Town and Village discuss hockey help, haunted houses

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The Town and Village of Somerset had their quarterly meeting on Sept. 24 at the Town Hall at 8 p.m., right after their public hearing about the town assessment.

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Michelle Baillargeon, Somerset Chamber of Commerce member, asked both boards if the Chamber could be notified when a new business comes into the area.

"We get calls about businesses we don't know about," Baillargeon said. "We can't serve the people if we don't know about the businesses."

Ed Schachtner, Chair of Somerset Township, told Baillargeon that the boards could easily notify the Chamber of new businesses, but new residents would not be as easy.

"We could give information on new building permits, but if someone sells a house, we wouldn't necessarily know," Schachtner said.

Both boards agreed to notify the Chamber so they can send out welcome packets.

Youth Hockey assistance on hold

Representatives of the Somerset Youth Hockey Center were making a follow-up appearance to the boards regarding their previous request for financial assistance.

The group had given separate presentations to the boards last month to offer suggestions of how the boards could help the growing hockey arena.

The selling point had been that, as a year-round ice rink, it brings people into the community and thus business to the local economy.

"We bring in about 30,000 visitors annually, with the golf tournaments, circus and 24 association-sponsored tournaments," John Gauper, President of the Somerset Youth Hockey Association Board, said at the August Village Board meeting.

He said other associations in the area, such as New Richmond, Amery, Hudson, and Grantsburg, get assistance from their municipalities.

Among the suggestions for help was plowing snow, direct annual contributions, a one-month mortgage payment, buying ice time or outdoor rink maintenance.

Jeff Johnson, Village president, said they already ruled out snow removal, the mortgage payment and buying ice time.

"We're still discussing the outdoor rink - we haven't ruled that out," Johnson said. "I'm sure there's something creative we can do to help."

Schachtner said the Township had not met since the Association's presentation so they haven't had a chance to discuss the issue yet.

Haunted Historic Town Hall

Rita Lawson, member of the Historic Town Hall Committee, told the boards that they are working on their second batch of fundraising bricks but sales are in a lull.

"We need 20 bricks to get the discount rate," Lawson explained. "We only have four or five bricks now. People who bought their brick a while ago are wondering where it is."

The boards suggested working up an advertising campaign to get the word out about the bricks still being available. Proceeds from the $100 bricks go toward maintenance of the Historic Town Hall.

Because the building is not heated, the boards discussed whether they were going to use the Historic Town Hall for any other events this year.

One of the suggested events was to make it a "haunted house" for Halloween and hand out candy to trick-or-treaters.

Mile markers approved

Shane Demulling, Town supervisor, reported that the St. Croix County Board will install mile markers in late October on the expressway. The markers will be at miles 4-14 from the west end to New Richmond on the east, plus exit numbers and road names for crossroads County I and A.

Demulling explained this was to give people an identifying point to relay to emergency personnel.

As a member of the County Board, he also gave those in attendance a "heads up" as to an issue on the November ballot.

"They are going to try to reduce the number of County Board supervisors from (the current) 31 to 19 - I urge you to vote no. This move will not save money and smaller communities will lose representation," Demulling said.

New brush truck approved

Travis Belisle, Somerset Fire/Rescue Chief, presented the boards with a quote for a Ford-450 truck with the description of the equipment package to be added by Foreman Fire.

"We'd either sell the 1985 truck as is, or keep it here as a third truck if it doesn't sell," Belisle explained. "$70,000 for the new truck is a heck of a bargain for what we want to do."

He also explained getting this brush truck would prolong the life of the huge diesel truck they have been using.

The Town and Village agreed to split the cost of the truck 55/45, after the first of the year.

Belisle also gave the boards the 2009 budget for his department. He explained that this year they are rearranging the budget on paper.

Instead of including the department's fundraising efforts and any private donations in the year's budget, he is going to keep that separate but still accountable.

"This provides more clarity," Lawson commented. "These are two kinds of money. But the money donated/fundraised should also be treated with the same attitude as public money."

Belisle said that the department already has 20 members that have to vote on a purchase with this money so it is not only his decision on what to spend.

The next joint meeting between the Village and Town of Somerset is Wednesday, January 28 at the Village Hall. The public is welcome to attend.

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