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Somerset Village Board discusses mailboxes, school agreements

The impending move of the post office this July was a big topic at the Tuesday, June 16 Village of Somerset board meeting.

Pete Boetcher, postmaster of the Somerset Post Office, attended the meeting to discuss the possibility of installing post office boxes in the area of the current location, 311 Main St., in downtown Somerset.

He said customers had been asking him about keeping the post office boxes downtown, although the office itself will be moving across town to the River Hills Commons area near the highway.

Bob Crotty, public works director for the Village of Somerset, said that a big metal cluster box with individual post office boxes might be cost-prohibitive.

"It would look good, but it's pricey," Crotty said.

"Then we'd have to pay maintenance to keep that area clear of snow, put down a concrete pad," Jeff Johnson, village president, commented.

The board discussed the possibility of allowing the residents purchase and install their own mailboxes in a row on Main Street; however, it was mentioned that it might be visually disorganized.

"Maybe the village can request they put up something uniform," Pam Donohoe, village clerk, suggested.

"On Forrest Drive, a guy didn't like the varied boxes so he got together with the other neighbors and they came up with a nice solution," Boetcher said

Where exactly to place the proposed mailboxes was another issue. It would have to be a place accessible from the car for the post office carriers, so space for a turn-around would be necessary.

Possible locations suggested were near the library and the current post office location, although Donohoe said that part of it is private property. Some suggested areas were also part of the Somerset Township, so they would need the township's approval.

Johnson asked the Public Works Committee to find some possible lots and bring them to the next joint village and township meeting.

Boetcher said the exact date of the move is still unknown, although he does anticipate the actual move to take place on a Saturday after closing hours.

Another point of discussion was the first draft of the access driveway agreement between the Village of Somerset and Somerset School District.

A few board members took exception to a statement within the draft that read if there is any traffic issues that necessitate improvements, that it would be done proportionately.

"So if traffic increases 60 percent because of the road, will they pay 60 percent of the cost?" asked Greg Sayers, board member.

"There is the potential for an increase in traffic and we may have to create a left-turn lane. With the current 45 mph (speed limit), that's a little fast," Johnson said. "We may have to change the speed zones."

Ryan Sicard, board member, said that although the issue is within the village corporate limits, it is actually a St. Croix County road. Jones said the speed zone falls in the county jurisdiction, and it is a "rigorous process" to get the limits lowered to 35 mph.

Sicard also suggested that part of the financial burden could be shouldered by the Meadows housing development.

"They have an obligation as well for future development, so that can be the other proportion," he stated.

The document was approved as a springboard to start talks with the school district.

In other news:

• Rob Jones, from Cedar Corp., said the design for the sludge storage tank should be done by the end of the month.

• The board approved purchasing a new snowplow to replace the 2002 one for $7,489.

• The board approved hiring Custom Concrete to spot repair the sidewalks for $7,337.

• The board turned down a resident's request for an operator's license based on Police Chief Doug Briggs' recommendation. The resident had a felony charge in 2002 and problems in high school. Chief Briggs said his denial did not disqualify him from working in a bar, but just as the sole licensed bartender. The resident was present at the meeting and said that it would jeopardize his chance of working since there were times he would be the only one working behind the bar. The board unanimously agreed to deny the request.

• The board tabled two bartending license requests because they were turned into the village 30 minutes before the meeting. Chief Briggs said that is not enough time for him to do a thorough background check. The applicants have to have their licenses current with the village or they are not in compliance.

• The board approved a conditional use permit for a new hair salon on Spring Street.

• Tiffany Moore and Kathleen Walsh were appointed to the Library Board.

• Johnson said Joe Green of Anchor Bank is tentatively appointed to the Industrial Park board. If not, Kathy Land will be appointed.

• The Village of Somerset board meets at 7 p.m. the third Tuesday of each month at at the Village Hall. The public is welcome to attend.