Government

Town Hall web
FOUNDING
What would soon become the Town of Somerset was established in 1890 through the Somerset Heights Colony Company which sought to create "a suburb after the very pleasant ones of Boston" outside the hustle & bustle of the nation's capital. Fifteen years later in 1905, the Somerset residents of the day applied for municipal status with Montgomery County. The following year, 1906, a Charter was granted creating the Town of Somerset which than received all the powers & privileges of a body politic & corporate. The newly incorporated Town of Somerset soon established a Mayor-Council form of government.

Dedicated Birdhouse for web
THE MAYOR, TOWN COUNCIL, & COMMITTEES
The Mayor is the chief executive officer & head of the administrative branch of the Town government. The Mayor is elected for a two-year term & has the following responsibilities:
  • Overseeing that the ordinances, resolutions, rules, & regulations of the Town are faithfully executed.
  • Appointing the nonelective officers of the Town government as established by the Charter or by ordinance.
  • Annually reporting to the Council, the condition of Town affairs & make recommendations as the Mayor deems proper for the public good & the welfare of the Town.
  • Supervises the financial administration of the Town government.
The legislative powers of the Town are vested in the Town Council which consists of five Councilors elected at-large for staggered two-year terms. Amongst themselves, the Council elects a Council President while the Mayor serves as Chair of the Council. The Council has the following responsibilities:
  • Approves the annual budget.
  • Approves all contracts.
  • Reviews & approves building permits.
  • Make laws deemed proper for the public good & the welfare of the Town.
Somerset is served by multiple Committees comprised of Somerset residents which focus on a broad variety of Town issues & interests. The first Committee & our one & only Board, are enshrined in the Charter while all subsequent Committees have been established by the Mayor. Additionally, Town officials represent the community on various local & County Boards & Committees.

Deer in Park
MEETINGS & STAFF
The Town Council, except in special circumstances, meets twice a month. The first meeting is the Town Council Meeting where decisions are made & voting occurs. This meeting is normally scheduled for the first Monday of each month except when this date falls on a holiday & another date is set (usually the following Monday). The second meeting is the Town Council Work Session where the Council is able to discuss & deliberate on items before coming to a decision at a Town Council Meeting. This meeting is normally scheduled for the third Monday of each month except when this date falls on a holiday & another date is set (usually the following Monday).

The preliminary agenda for each Town Council Meeting is published in the Somerset Town Journal, it should be noted that this agenda is subject to change but gives the community a general idea of what should be expected at the Meeting. The final agendas for both meetings are sent out prior to the meetings via email, this very website, & social media while also being placed on the bulletin board of the Town Hall. Background materials prepared for the Councilors on the agenda items (the Meeting Packet) alongside minutes & recordings of the meetings are posted or linked to on this website. Town Council Meetings are hybrid meetings taking place both in-person at Town Hall & over Zoom. All Somerset residents are welcome to attend the Council both in-person or through Zoom.

The various Committees meet as needed using agendas that are developed by the Chairs & sent out by the Town Manager before the meetings via email, this very website, & social media. Official minutes that are developed by the Chairs are posted or linked to on this website. Though Committees can meet in-person at Town Hall or have hybrid meetings like the Council, most elect for Zoom only meetings. All Somerset residents are welcome to attend the Committee meetings through Zoom.

The day-to-day administration of the Town is carried out by a dedicated team of professionals. This Town Staff is led by the Town Manager, who also serves as the Clerk-Treasurer, & who is appointed annually by the Mayor & Town Council. This staff ensure the provision of a variety of services to the community.

Document
TOWN HALL
The seat of the Somerset government is our Town Hall, affectionately known as the Little Red House. Originally built as a residential home in 1902, it was purchased by the Town in 1965 but left unused. In 1968, the Little Red House was used as a schoolhouse for autistic children by the American Foundation for Autistic Children. In 1982, the building was officially converted to the Town Hall. In 1986, the rear edition to the Town Hall was added. To better serve the needs of the community, the Town Hall underwent extensive renovation in 2019 & in 2023 was outfitted with solar panels, representative of Somerset's sustainability efforts. Located at 4510 Cumberland Avenue on Little Cumberland flanked by Capello Park on one side & the Town's tennis courts on the other, it stands as a historic building that aptly serves the historic Town of Somerset.