Each year we take the opportunity to look back at Village accomplishments and look forward into 2018 and the issues that will affect Somers. We are pleased to share examples of investments, small and large, that have been made on behalf of your community that make Somers a better place to live and do business.
2017 was a year where decisions and actions significantly impacted our future.
- On November 17, 2017, the Wisconsin Department of Administration approved the Intergovernmental Agreement between the Village of Somers, City of Kenosha, and the Town of Paris. As part of the Agreement, the City agreed to extend the sewer service area to the entire Village of Somers. This is significant and will directly impact our development activity. On February 26, 2018, the Kenosha Board of Water Commissioners approved the adoption of a Greater Kenosha Sanitary Sewer Service Area amendment. After receiving approval from SEWRPC and the Department of Natural Resources, Somers will be ready to welcome new business anywhere in the Village.
- Our Board approved the hiring of Jason Peters to serve as Assistant Administrator. He has a master’s degree in public administration, a law degree, and work experience in the municipal sector. This proactive move was prompted by the substantial growth and new development activity in Somers. Additionally, hiring at this time allows Mr. Morris, our current Administrator to participate in preparing Mr. Peters for the transition into the Administrator leadership role when Mr. Morris retires.
- Four years ago, Somers carried the lowest bond rating of any municipality in the State of Wisconsin. In 2017, Standard & Poors (S&P) gave Somers an A+ rating on our most recent water and sewer system revenue bonds, as well as an A+ rating for the Village general revenue bonds. This was the result of establishing new financial policies that were implemented by Village staff. This rating significantly reduces our short and long term interest expense.
- A few highlights of how we invested in our community in 2017 include:
- $500,000 to improve our roads and streets. This includes the rebuilding of 28th Street between 30th and 39th Avenue that was completed in a partnership with the City of Kenosha.
- $100,000 for new financial management software.
- $65,000 for a new Global Imaging System.
- $235,000 for public safety which includes new breathing apparatus and a new 4-wheel drive ambulance.
- $100,000 for public works equipment.
- $120,000 for the replacement of 40 year old softball lights at our Memorial Park. Festival Foods donated $10,000 toward the cost of the lights. On behalf of the community, thank you Festival!
- $337,000 for improving our aging water mains.
2018 Focuses on Infrastructure and Growth
- The Village Board created a new Stormwater Utility District on January 9, 2018.
- Our historic 8 inch rainfall on July 11, 2017 produced $230,000 in flood damage. Creating this new District is timely.
- We have received positive support and praise from the community for taking this step toward reducing flood damage and related costs in our community.
- In January 2018, we completed a one-year $3.6 million water main project. The new main extends from Highway L and 41st Street, to Highway H. It supports additional fire protection to the First Park 94 Industrial campus located on Highways H and S.
- In a joint effort to proactively seek retail development, Somers, Pleasant Prairie, Bristol, Salem Lakes, the City of Kenosha and KABA have retained consultants to provide a retail development plan. This plan will assist in seeking development that will serve the needs of our residents and visitors.
- Along our Sheridan Road corridor, we have homes with clay sewer laterals dating back to the 1950’s – over 65 years old. Starting in spring 2018, we will begin the Sanitary Sewer Rehabilitation Project which relines or replaces laterals. This will be a multi-year project until the Sheridan Road corridor is complete.
- In conjunction with the Kenosha Water Utility, we authorized a 2018 water study that will address future water demands on our water system that will be triggered by change in land use and development.
- The Board approved a new Ordinance designating truck routes within the Village. The Ordinance will protect our Village and Town roads from being damaged from Foxconn heavy construction equipment, as well as protecting our residential areas and Shoreland Lutheran High School from heavy and noisy traffic along Highway E.
- Our 2018 budget continues to make important investments in our community. The highlights include:
- $500,000 for road and street improvement.
- $200,000 for the Sanitary Sewer Rehabilitation Project of lining or replacing sewer laterals along the Sheridan Road corridor.
- $170,000 for new public works dump truck and utility truck.
- $40,000 for a new electronic Somers sign on Hwy E.
- $30,000 for new public safety equipment for rescue workers and firefighters.
- $36,169 for a new full-time firefighter/rescue position effective 2nd quarter.
- And, $15,000 to update our IT and network.
In conclusion, the Village of Somers extends a warm welcome to Kwik-Trip, Burger King, Firestone, and Market Center Square 280-upscale apartment complex, our newest businesses, who have made Somers their new home. These businesses have brought approximately $30 million in new development value to Somers. Based on current development activity in our Village, we look forward to a busy and successful 2018.