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Village annexes three acres; will apply for trail grant

The Somerset Village Board at its Nov. 19 regular board meeting agreed to annex a three-acre parcel that Matt Mithun of the Somerset Amphitheater is in the process of buying.

The owners of the amphitheater are buying what is known as the Scott Knutson property, located currently in the Town of Somerset across from the Public Works waste treatment plant. The property includes a house and a couple of barns.

According to Pamela Donohoe, village clerk and economic development director, the state used to require the village to pay the property taxes to the town for the next five years after a property is annexed.

The board approved the annexation on the contingency that Mithun agree to the pay the taxes himself to the Town of Somerset. Because Mithun came to the village requesting the annexation, and it’s not something the village pursued, the board felt Mithun should pay the taxes.

Mithun said he plans to erect a vendor building on the site.

The board also voted to authorize Cedar Corporation to help village staff prepare a pre-scoping application grant proposal for a multipurpose trail along the north side of Highway 35/64 from Rivard Street to Church Hill Road.

This would fall under WisDOT’s new Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP), which incorporates three multimodal transportation improvement programs: Safe Routes to School; Transportation Enhancements; and Bicycle and Pedestrian Facilities Program.

The pre-application is due Dec. 13. If selected, the village must submit a full application by March, engineer Rob Jones of Cedar Corporation said.

The pre-application costs nothing. The minimum amount required by the grant is $300,000, which this project would be, Jones said.

If chosen, the village will have to pay a minimum of 20 percent of the cost of the project, with as much as 80 percent being covered by the grant.

“This is the first milestone of the state funding of the project,” Jones said. “We’re basically throwing our name in a hat and giving a brief cursory description of the project.”

The trail would be 10 feet wide and would give more kids access to walking or biking to school, Jones said.

The proposed 2014 budget does not differ much from last year’s, according the budget summary. Total proposed revenue and expenditures equal $1.919 million, compared to $1.926 million last year. The tax levy for 2013 was set at $1.313 million with an assessed mil rate of 7.49 for the village portion of the taxes. This means for every $1,000 of evaluated value, property owners will pay $7.49.

In other business

--A three-year contract was approved with Olson Sanitation. Individual household fees and volume-base rates will increase slightly: 25 cents per month for a single residence; 50 cents per month for a duplex; 75 cents per month for a three-plex; and $1 per month for a four-plex.

--The board approved using $109,362 in the debt service fund to pay off the land bought from the school district where the old elementary school sat, up the hill from the Village Park. This doesn’t reduce the village’s debt, because the amount that was used to pay for the land will now be used to pay for the new fire truck, Donohoe said.

--The board approved spending $2,700 on a runoff repair at 851 Jack Pine Trail.

--All work was completed on Laser Drive a month ago, Village Trustee Bartt Palmer said. The final payment for the project will come before the board next month.

--The board approved paying $3,790 to Haas Sons, Inc., of Thorp, as the final payment for the Shay Street lift station project in 2012.

--A payment of $148,702 to Albrightson Excavating of Woodville was approved. It was the final payment in the Laser Drive project to that company.

--The board voted to apply the remaining donated funds (roughly $4,000 out of $8,300) to the Larry Forrest Memorial Park baseball dugout project. The dugout is all wood, with a roof and new concrete.

--The board approved a contract for Jan. 1, 2014, to Dec. 31, 2016, with the assessor, Associated Appraisal Associates, Inc., in the amount of $6,950 for 2014, $7,000 for 2015 and $7,050 for 2016. Donohoe said this is a significant reduction because there are no reassessment charges. Also, residents will be able to access assessor data online.

--A contract not to exceed $900 was approved for Cedar Corporation to inspect the Main Street Bridge over the Apple River. The bridge was built in 1913 or 1917, Jones said.

“It has been getting great scores for a bridge that age,” Jones said.

--The treasurer’s job description was updated. It hadn’t been updated since 2000.

--The board approved the wage schedule for 2014, with most employees getting a two percent increase.

--The board voted to raise all bonds (fines) by $10, due to a state law change for increasing court costs.

--The board approved donating $2,500 to the Bridge Coalition, which is setting aside money to defend themselves against anyone opposing the new St. Croix Crossing.

“There are people who are very against this bridge and will do what they can to stop it until that first car goes over,” Village Trustee Greg Sayers said.

Sarah Nigbor

Sarah J. Nigbor serves as a regional editor for RiverTown Multimedia, a position she began in April 2017. She joined RiverTown Multimedia in October 2013 as a news reporter for the New Richmond News, before being appointed editor of the Pierce County Herald in Febraury 2015. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Spanish and French in 2001. She completed a minor in journalism in 2004. 

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