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Board prepares for 2014 construction season

The Somerset Village Board is preparing for its 2014 construction season, paving the way financially, as well as with ongoing plans.

During its July 16 regular meeting, the board approved a $1,910,000 general obligation promissory note to fund Tax Incremental Financing district projects and utilities. The agreement was presented to the board by Sean Lentz of Ehlers and Associates. The board accepted a proposal from First National Community Bank for the promissory note, locking in to a 1.97 percent interest rate. The board's approval allowed Village President Jeffrey Johnson and Village Clerk Pam Donohoe to sign the agreement.

The board also heard an update on the village's Tax Incremental Financing district projects presented by Village Engineer Rob Jones of Cedar Corp. The Shay Street project was completed last year, Jones said, but the village has been holding some of the money back until the village was sure the road was constructed properly and would hold up.

Jones said a couple of sinkholes had developed near the Shay Street Lift Station and the construction company will be fixing those issues shortly.

The village's current project on Laser Drive is progressing. Jones said all utilities are now in the street.

"They'll most likely be getting gravel up all this week and scheduling curb and gutter shortly," he said.

The village is also planning a project for LaGrandeur Road for 2014, which is still in the design stage. Jones and the Public Works Department is still working with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources hoping to use their preferred route, which, Jones said, would run up to 190th Avenue. A DNR permit would be required for the preferred route, because of existing wetlands in the area.

In other business:

* The village board approved a fee schedule for various services the village charges for. These include the tubing user fee, which is shared by all of the tubing establishments in the village, as well as the sewer hookup fee. The fee schedule has also been updated to include a new fee for use of the village park concession stand building, which now costs $100 per day. The fee schedule will be updated yearly by the village board.

With the fee schedule, the board also approved a public works equipment charge list, which includes prices for lawn mowing and snow removal, both of which have been updated.

* The board approved a quote for $4,500 for Aqua-Aerobic Systems Inc. to train public works employees in maintaining Somerset's wastewater facilities. Aqua-Aerobic employees will train the employees in properly and safely maintaining the wastewater system. Should any maintenance be necessary, the Aqua-Aerobic workers will assist the Somerset public works employees in performing the necessary repairs.

The training is to improve the wastewater facility's preventative maintenance practices, in order to prevent unexpected problems.

Jeff Holmquist
Jeff Holmquist has been managing editor of the New Richmond News since 2004. He holds a bachelor's degree in journalism and business administration from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. He has previously worked as editor in Wadena, Minn.; Detroit Lakes, Minn.; Hutchinson, Minn.; and Bloomington, Minn. He also was previously owner of the Osceola Sun, Stillwater Courier and Scandia Messenger along with his wife. Together they previously founded and published The Old Times newspaper for antiques and collectibles collectors; and Up!, a Christian magazine of hope and encouragement.
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