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Village to Fire Department: Yes, we'll pay you

It has been a long time coming, but the Somerset Fire/Rescue got the official OK from the village board at their monthly meeting Nov. 16.

The department had worked the 2010 Country Splash concert at Float-Rite park this past June and invoiced the village for about $4,000. However, they had not received any money so far because the concert venue owners had filed bankruptcy. The Village has only been able to recover $2,000 -- it still is out $14,000.

There was some discrepancy about what role the village was playing in this scenario.

Some of the village board members said that the village was the intermediary between the Fire/Rescue department and the concert venue.

"It was my understanding that we would handle the billing," said Greg Sayers, board member. "It was getting contentious with you handling it because of past issues (with not getting paid). The concert promoter owed them that, not us."

Other board members stated that they thought the village would pay the fire/rescue department, and then get reimbursed from the concert venue.

"We took them out of their (conditional use permit) and told them to submit the bill and we would pay them," said Dave Carufel, board member.

"They thought they had a locked up promise from the board to get paid."

Travis Belisle, Somerset Fire/Rescue chief, has maintained since the village took his department out of the wording in the conditional use permit for the concert, the village would pay them. Otherwise, he said, his members would not have worked the event -- given they had not been paid for two years prior.

"I think we will resolve this next year in the conditional use permit," Belisle said.

The board acknowledged that the department members should be paid; however, a question still remained.

"Where will the money come from?" asked Ryan Sicard, board member.

Jeff Johnson, village president, suggested having the finance committee look to find a way to pay the fire/rescue department. The board agreed.

In other news:

• The board decided to table the issue of getting the controls for the lift station in the industrial park above ground.

• The board approved hiring Keys Wells Drilling to replace the shaft for well #3 for $5,975.

• The board approved a picnic beer license for Somerset Wrestling Association for the "Doe on the Go" event Nov. 19 at the Magpie Coffee House.

• The board approved Resolution 2010-03 to set the Village of Somerset tax levy at $1,347,000.

• The board approved the 2011 village budget.

• The board discussed e-mailing agendas to people, but it was suggested that recipients set up a separate account so that their personal e-mails aren't a matter of public record.

• Belisle told the board that his department was able to purchase a barely-used boat at a reduced rate. They still have the Argo.

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