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Village approves permit for Float-Rite

The Village of Somerset Public Safety Committee went before a special meeting of the Somerset Village Board on June 1 to make a new proposal.

The interim conditional use permit for Archies of Minnesota LLC Terry Montpetit was finally approved by the Village of Somerset Board, after it had been sent back to committee at the regular board meeting May 25.

At that time, the public safety committee had tried to get the village to approve the permit but Terry and John Montpetit objected to proposed changes.

The proposed permit, which spells out guidelines for concerts at Float-Rite, had included a stipulation that the Somerset Fire/Rescue chief be able to include the fire department's concert-related expenses with the village's expenses. Currently, the police department puts its concert-related expenses -- additional officer staffing, for example -- in the village invoice.

In the past, Somerset Fire/Rescue members volunteered time in exchange for a donation afterward. However, they did not receive a donation after working last year.

Village President Jeff Johnson suggested the public safety committee hold a special meeting on Thursday, May 27, to discuss the permit with all interested parties. The Somerset Village Board would then reconvene for a special meeting on Tuesday, June 1, to hear the revisions.

Greg Sayers, public safety chair, presided over the May 27 meeting. In attendance were the Montpetits, Somerset Police Chief Doug Briggs, Somerset Fire/Rescue Chief Travis Belisle, a representative from Lakeview EMS and various members of the Somerset Township.

One of the issues raised was if Lakeview EMS would still provide coverage if Somerset Fire/Rescue was not on site.

John Montpetit said that it's the law that the police department be on site, but only first responders are legally required to be on site, and those people can be hired from anywhere.

John Muller, from Lakeview EMS, addressed his concerns about the concert situation.

"My concern with not having Somerset Fire/Rescue there is that (whoever ends up working the concert) will need an evaluation and call the ambulance and then that ambulance is out of commission to do a full workup on the patient," he said. "Somerset Fire/Rescue knows when not to call 911 and they know how to evaluate. I'm afraid we'll get overwhelmed with calls and not have an ambulance available."

"The best scenario is that Somerset Fire/Rescue is there and involved," he said.

John Montpetit said that he did not object to Somerset Fire/Rescue working the concert. He said he had issues with the chart Belisle had drawn up stating how much Archies of Minnesota LLC would have to pay the village up front for a certain range of attendees.

For instance, he cited the portion where 0-15,000 people attending would cost $10,000 that Archies would pay up front for Somerset Fire/Rescue's concert services.

"No one ever said that the fire department can't be there," Montpetit said, "nor did we ever say we don't owe them money. But that does not belong in the conditional use permit."

"We just wanted to be like the police department," Belisle said. "If there is a certain amount of people, we need to get paid."

Briggs said he had been able to estimate his department's expenses fairly accurately over the past few years.

"Only the actual expenses caused by the concert are turned into the village," Briggs explained. "They bill ahead of time, we get paid prior to the concert and if anything is short or over it would be taken care of after the concert."

"If the fire department can make the proper projections," he continued, "the most important thing is that the village and township be reimbursed for actual costs."

Sayers said since Terry Montpetit was read the changes in the ICUP at previous meetings and did not raise any objection, he therefore agreed to the revisions. The Montpetits said Terry did not understand what was going on at the time.

After much discussion, the committee decided to reword the ICUP from "Archies of Minnesota LLC (The Company) shall pay for village expenses: the chief of police, fire rescue chief and public works director will annually estimate the cost to the village of providing services for a concert."

The revised wording suggested by the committee was to replace "Fire rescue chief and public works director" with "and administrative and other costs and expenses incurred by the village as a result of the concerts."

At the June 1 special meeting of the Somerset Village Board the revision was altered slightly for clarification. The "fire rescue chief and public works director" was still stricken from the draft. This sentence was added at the end of the paragraph: "Administrative and other costs and expenses incurred by the village as a result of the concert will be invoiced within 30 days of the concert end date with payment due 30."

The Somerset Village Board approved the change to the interim conditional use permit.