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Somerset boards approve Fire/Rescue 2012 budget

The joint Somerset meeting between the village and the township on Sept. 26 focused on the new Fire/Rescue budget.

Travis Belisle, Somerset Fire/Rescue chief, asked for a 1.5 percent increase from last year (approximately $2,200), citing supply needs and other expenses.

After explaining to the boards that they were looking at purchasing portable lights for the engines, a program to store their files off-site and new hoses for trucks, Belisle was willing to cut back.

"We can knock the hoses out of it and come back later to ask for the money if needed," he offered.

The boards deliberated for a bit before approving the department's budget of $157,964.

However, Shane Demulling, town supervisor, noticed a discrepancy later in the meeting.

"Going back," he began, "that $157,964 that we approved included that additional $2,000. It should be lower."

"You're right," agreed Jeff Johnson, village president. "We need to amend that to $155,964."

"We were just back here wondering about that," commented Belisle.

The boards amended the motion to reflect the $2,000 reduction in the Fire/Rescue department budget.

The boards also discussed the recent summer concert in Somerset. Johnson said that he believed it went smoothly; they had only a few complaints about late noise. Ed Schatchner, town chairman, said that he also had a few complaints.

Pam Donohoe, village clerk, said the concerts are allowed to go until midnight. Johnson agreed that the concerts were finished by that time.

The joint Somerset meeting adjourned so that the Village of Somerset Board could meet and discuss a couple of issues.

The board had already approved building an addition to the police department. Cedar Corp., the engineering firm retained by the village, came back with four bids for the project, which they had previously estimated at $164,950.

The bids ranged between $179,500-$205,156.

"Your estimate was $135,000 with some extra fees," Johnson began. "We can't accept any of these bids."

Corey Scheidler, of Cedar Corp., agreed that the bids were over the projected price, but he suggested several ways to trim the project down, such as re-using salvaged materials.

"There really is no 'smoking gun' we can pull out," said Scheidler.

Chief Doug Briggs said that he had already cut back on all he could for his department.

"Maybe we should take it back to the drawing board," said Briggs.

The board decided to ask Scheidler to talk to the contractor to see if any price can be reduced and report back to the board at the October meeting.

The board also discussed refinancing the village debt. It will be further discussed with the Finance Committee.

The next joint Somerset meeting will be on Wednesday, Jan. 25, at the Town Hall at 7 p.m. The public is welcome to attend.