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Two hired to fill public works director position in Somerset

Rob Weldon and Robert Gunther are the new public works supervisors for the Village of Somerset. Weldon's primary responsibilities will include the streets and sewer, while Gunther will focus on parks and water. They were sworn into office Wednesday, Aug. 17, one day after the Village of Somerset Board meeting

Two heads are better than one, so the Somerset Village board believes.

When Bob Crotty retired from the public works director position in early spring, the Village of Somerset Board was charged with the task of hiring a replacement.

Jeff Johnson, village president, announced at the monthly board meeting on Aug. 15 that the position will be temporarily split into two public works supervisor positions.

"After extensive deliberations, we decided to promote the people within to be supervisor - previously referred to as a lead person," Johnson explained. "This is not a competitive positioning of the two, but a team. We feel they are up to the challenge."

Robert Gunther will be the supervisor for parks and water, while Rob Weldon will be the supervisor for streets and sewer.

Both have worked for the Village of Somerset for several years under Crotty's tutelage.

Bob Krueger, board member, wanted to be sure that the new public works supervisors would be the first called for village concerns.

"There is a wall sagging at the water tower that looks like a landscaping problem," said Krueger. "Every time we ask Rob (Jones, of Cedar Corp.) to do something, it costs a ton of money. Why don't we start having our people look at things first?"

Ryan Sicard, chairman of the public works committee, said that all Cedar Corp. was asked to do for that particular project was to see if the warranty was still in effect; Cedar Corp. will not bill for that.

Another prominent point of discussion was the impact fees for Somerset Amphitheater. With the SoundTown Festival Aug. 19 and 20, the board had to approve the installation payments for the impact fees.

According to Resolution 2011-08, there is a hookup fee of $27,683 for sewer, impact fees of $24,345 for water, $972.30 for law enforcement and $272.24 for fire protection. There is also a provision for "any future assessed transportation impact fee (public street impact fee)."

"We are trying to work out arrangements with the owners since there is no income at this time," Johnson said.

One of the concerns was if the concert attendance exceeded the wastewater capacity system. According to the developer's agreement between the village and the Somerset Amphitheater, the amphitheater is fully responsible for purchasing, installing and hooking up an equalization tank if the flow exceeds 50,000 gallons within a 24-hour period.

"This was a mechanism to put a threshold in place to see what the numbers are," said Sicard. "It could be a big problem, or it could not be any problem."

Johnson also said that it did not have to be a tank, but it could be a less expensive lift station if necessary.

The board approved allowing the Somerset Amphitheater to pay the impact fees over three years.

In other news:

-- The board approved the equipment charge list and mutual aid agreement for public works.

-- The board approved A&D Paving to pave Somerset Lane in the Meadows development for $4,886.90.

-- The board approved hiring Roan Construction LLC to replace the three back windows in the Village Hall offices. An energy grant will cover part of the project; the village will have to cover the remaining $800.

-- The board approved hiring Insituform Technologies to realign the sewer on Depot Street. The entire length would be 1,100 feet, and the board approved not spending more than $25,000 to come out of the sewer utility fund.

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