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Somerset Village board discusses concert permit, proposed utility

The Village of Somerset board meeting on Feb. 23 started off with a public comment.

Mark Vanasse, Somerset resident, questioned why Float-Rite's concert hours were being extended from midnight to 1 a.m.

"The bar is open on the concert grounds until 1 a.m. to allow a more orderly exodus from the grounds," explained Greg Sayers, board member. "Instead of having people try to leave as soon as the music stops, people can stay on site a little longer."

Terry Montpetit, co-owner of Float-Rite, was in the audience and confirmed that only the beer garden would be open until 1 a.m., not the music on the mainstage.

Pam Donohoe, village clerk, said that since the concert and beer garden are two separate operations, only the beer garden application should be altered to reflect the time change.

Interim use permit for concerts

The board discussed the interim conditional use permit for Montpetit and Archies of Minnesota LLC in regard to the Float-Rite concerts.

One of the changes was the village's decision to not require a ticket count, which would then be public record.

"That was mainly for our collecting," Donohoe said. "But now we aren't collecting based on tickets sold, so I don't know why we would need to see the numbers."

Jeff Johnson, village president, said the numbers would be good to have so the police department would know how many officers to retain.

"I take the public record law very seriously," Police Chief Doug Briggs said. "I would like it taken off there because we don't need it."

Greg Sayers, board member, recommended changing the wording to notifying the chief of police instead of the village as to an attendance figure. Travis Belisle, fire chief, said he would like his department to also know the projected attendance numbers.

The board approved the proposed changes to the interim conditional use permit. They will address the beer garden's permit separately.

Proposed storm water utility

The Public Works committee reminded the board that they were holding a public information meeting at 6 p.m. on March 3 regarding the proposed Storm Water Utility.

"This may be the first of several meetings," Sicard commented.

They are planning to hand out a flyer that explains the rationale for a Storm Water Utility, such as the village's cost of maintaining storm water ponds.

However, they do not have a fee rate in mind yet.

"We are cautious about communicating what the charge will be until we get more firm data," Sicard explained. "But we will have a range so people aren't blindsided."

Rob Jones, from Cedar Corp., told the board that this is still a work in progress.

"For example, a single family pays 1, once we determine what that unit represents," Jones said. "This is more of a user fee than a property tax - we want to set things low and then re-evaluate in a couple of years."

Sicard said the earliest this fee would take effect would be in June or July 2010.

In other news:

• The public works committee updated parking ordinance A-586 that was written more than 10 years ago. The board approved the revision.

• The board approved the public works committee's suggestion to put a time limit on when a user can apply for a sewer credit, as well as submitting it in writing within 60 days of the bill date. Terry Dunst, village attorney, also suggested allowing 30 days for an appeal.

• The board approved the Somerset Youth Hockey Association's request for a picnic beer license from March 12-14 ending each night at midnight at the hockey rink.

• The board approved reimbursing SEH $2,500 for them to complete the water model portion of impact fees. Two members voted against, the remaining voted in favor.

• Kristi Witzel was appointed election inspector by Johnson.

• Dave Carufel, board member, was officially appointed as the village representative regarding the landfill park restoration project with the Town of Somerset and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Services.

• The Village of Somerset board meetings are every third Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Village Hall. The public is welcome to attend.