TOWN OF WALPOLE
NOVEMBER 17, 2016
Selectboard Present: Steven Dalessio (Chair); Peggy Pschirrer; Whitney Aldrich
Staff Present: Sarah Downing (Executive – Manager of Administration); Michael Rau (Road Agent); Police Chief Michael Paquette (Police Department); Paul Colburn (Recycling Center); Justine Rogers (Librarian); Justin Cassarino (Recreation Director); Rebecca Whippie (Hooper Institute)
Guest: Cheryl Mayberry
Call to Order: Mr. Dalessio called this staff meeting to order at 4:00 PM in the Walpole Town Hall. He advised that this meeting is being recorded.
Highway Department: Mr. Rau reported they have been cleaning out and marking culverts as this is done regularly. They were able to help clear-out the area that a few individuals in North Walpole are trying to make into a park. It is nice to see them taking an interest in doing this. He gave them some old granite blocks, seed and mulch. Chief Paquette said the area looks good. Mr. Dalessio asked Ms. Mayberry to mention this help to the North Walpole Commissioners. Some sidewalks in North Walpole were paved. Mr. Rau was there helping and learning. The Fuzzy Brothers did a nice job. For the period October 21, 2016 to November 16, 2016, they also did the following work:
- Cold patching;
- Serviced trucks and equipment;
- Cleaned catch basins;
- Closed the fountain;
- Paved Watkins Hill Road; Filled in driveways on Watkins Hill Road;
- Fixed the thermostat on truck-10;
- Ditch work was done on all dirt roads;
- Crushed dumpsters for Recycling Center;
- Mulched and picked-up leaves;
- Fixed door rails on the chipper;
- Fixed the step on the grader and made shield for hydraulic valves;
- The DES paper work is done and was accepted by DES for the March Hill bridge. He is waiting for the DES inspection.
- Cleaned the East Street dam – the beavers are still there. Rau talked to Mr. Speed about trapping them again and he will do it this month or in December.
- Worked on loader specs and pricing;
- Total miles paved this year was 8.3 – two more miles than last year;
- Oil undercoated the trucks
Mrs. Pschirrer mentioned that people who drive over Watkins Hill Road and March Hill Road but live on other roads want their roads done as well. Mr. Dalessio asked them to cold patch some of the potholes along the Alstead Center Road as he is concerned about the winter. Big trucks are still going through there. Mr. Rau said it is posted but sometimes they still go over that road. Mr. Rau and Mr. Thompson went to an air brake training class and are now certified to work on them. It was an after-hours class. Mr. Dalessio advised that when someone takes their own time to attend a training class they should be given something out of the stipend line as recognition for doing this. Mr. Rau hopes they will attend more classes next year. Everything is going well. They are ready for winter. The Selectboard noted that two employees, Ken Silva and Ken Thompson, came in 4th out of 12 at the New England Regional Plowing Rally.
Selectboard Office: Mrs. Downing made the following report:
- Fall 2016 warrant was signed by the Selectboard and delivered to the Tax Collector’s Office.
- A printed notice of the town-wide property evaluation project will be included in the tax bill envelopes. New Hampshire municipalities are required by RSA to conduct a revaluation every 5 years.
- Assessors from Avitar Associates have begun visiting properties in North Walpole to measure buildings and other taxable features.
- If no one is home, Avitar assessors will simply measure the exterior of all structures. If the owner is home and willing the assessor will do an interior inspection. After the initial visit, taxpayers will receive a letter with Avitar Associates’ contact information for arranging interior home inspections.
- If property owners have questions or concerns, please call Selectboard Office for assistance.
- Equalization assessment data is being reviewed by Avitar and is due to the state in mid-December in order to set the equalization rate for the Town.
Water and Sewer Billing:
- Fall billing was posted Oct. 26th;
- Over 58 payments have been hand-delivered to the Selectboard Office; this number does not include payments received through the mail.
- Thanks to Linda Edkins, Bryan Wetherby and Alex Fafara for their efforts in gathering meter readings, importing data, double checking accounts, creating invoices and preparing invoices for mailing. Linda was pleased with how everything moved through the process.
- Overall payment activity has been active which is keeping Linda busy with processing payments and deposits several times a week.
Department of Revenue Administration:
- The NH Department of Revenue (DRA) auditors will be returning in December to finalize the audit of the Town’s Veterans’ Tax Credit files.
- The Town Hall will be hosting site for a DRA sponsored workshop entitled “Current Use Criteria and Rules” on Tuesday, Nov. 29th from 9am to 1pm. Smith, Mrs. Pschirrer and Mrs. Downing will be attending this workshop.
Town Hall Facilities:
The following repairs occurred:
- Replacement of stained and damaged ceiling tiles;
- Handrail added to basement stairway;
- Sprinkler repair of air leaks/pipes in system (2nd visit).
Town Hall Rentals and Reservations:
- Researching simplified approach to main door lock, chair and table storage so it is safer and easier to do;
- High use of Town Hall continues through the end of December.
Holiday Gift Cards:
- Will be distributed via department managers to all regular full-time and part-time employees in mid-December. Mr. Dalessio mentioned that for those who are willing to give up their gift cards, Mrs. Janet Clough will accept them and give them to the Town’s welfare people.
Boston Post Cane:
Following this meeting the Boston Post Cane will be presented to Charmian Trundle in honor of being the oldest resident in Town. There will be a reception with cake and light refreshments.
Recycling Center: Mr. Paul Colburn made the following report for the month of October:
He referenced and explained the “Daily Weight Report and Year to Date Comparison”. Mixed Paper is doing well as they are putting in milk cartons and getting a lot of books from the school. Electronics are higher compared to other years. They no longer take tubes because of the markets and no longer weigh glass. They were down with cardboard but are now getting banana boxes from Mr. Gs. These boxes are in demand as they are strong and used by many people. The second report is the “Five Year Comparison on Recyclables”. The Recycling Center charges for these items because they have to pay to dispose of them. The year’s Forecast was $30,000; Estimated Year is $41,000. Historically October is one of their better months. Next month he will be short-handed therefore not able to make as many trips as usual. The number of trips has a lot to do with commercial materials. The furniture factory brought in about 15 mattresses which they broke down into box springs, wood, metal, etc.
Mr. Colburn started a fire wood program. People can bring wood they do not need into the Center and people who need it can come in to pick it up. Mr. Ben Daviss and Mr. Jackson brought in the first loads. There is a need for this service but Mr. Colburn is not sure how much wood will be brought in.
Ms. Heather Collins is up-dating their website. Last week the Alstead School came in with 47 students and chaperones. They were broken up into three groups. One sorted materials that came in from the school program, another took off the book binders and the other group was given a tour. They then switched so each group spent some time doing each of the tasks. It worked out well. They took pictures that will be put on the website and maybe put in the Town Report. The teacher said when the students got off the bus they asked when they could come back again.
LaValley’s is bringing in a few loads of metal. It will increase revenue. They are looking to change the lights in the Center over to LEDs but will stay within their budget. Mr. Dalessio advised the Selectboard would like to not have discretionary spending that has to be paid before mid-December. They have to pay the County and make a monthly payment to the Fall Mountain Regional School District. After tax payments come in they will be back on-line. Right now they are watching cash management. Mr. Colburn is missing the roll-off they use for metals; they expect it will be returned soon. Whitcomb Construction has agreed to take care of the beavers on the tree line.
Recreation Department: Mr. Justin Cassarino provided the following report:
- Pool cover was delivered and put on. New holes were drilled in some spots to fit the new cover.
- Can we dispose of the two old covers to free up space for the Highway Department? Mr. Rau said they were there when he started. Dalessio recommended he get approval from the Recreation Committee to dispose of them.
- Water was shut off after the Tennis Club was to hold their tournament. However, it ended up raining, so they had to cancel the tournament.
- 44 participants;
- Not enough girls signed up for the 5/6 team, so one is playing at Alstead, one is on the 5/6 boy’s team, and one decided not to play;
- Looking into new uniforms. The ones that were ordered four years ago are way too big. Need to get youth sizes.
- Looking into getting new wind screens from Wilson and Lawrence for the tennis courts. They have a certain material that they are trying to get rid of so they are going to give us a deal on them.
- Will be taking down the goals this weekend. Trying to get rid of the old goals to families who are interested.
Library: Ms. Justine Rogers submitted the following report:
Walpole October 2015: 27 Days open, 1321 people, 1778 circ, 29 programs, 228 people for programs.
2015 January to October Averaged 47 people and 78 circ per day.
Walpole October 2016: 25 Days open, 1732 people, 2144 circ, 37 programs, 357 people for programs, 461 website visitors.
2016 January to October Average 64 people and 91 circ per day.
Working on a speaker series for 2017. There is a grant they are working on through the New Hampshire Humanities that non-profits can apply for.
Food for Fines 21st-23rd. Bring in non-perishables. 1 food item = up to $1 of late fines waived. It was very successful and a lot of lost items were brought back.
New volunteer opportunity they are trying to get off the ground: delivering books to home bound patrons. They will be putting an article in the Clarion and on the Walpolean to hopefully get some volunteers interested. They will do a meeting for the volunteers in January to get some planning done.
Automating North Walpole has been stalled a bit by the State Library. New timeline is to have it done by March 2017. They are the first in the State trying to automate their branch library.
Friends of the Library Book Sale was awesome as they made about $6,600. At the end of the Book Sale they have a truck pick up the books that do not sell. This year they had more books than would fit into the truck. Other volunteers offered to take those books. Mr. Dalessio pointed out that there is no carry-over of books yet they always have thousands to sell. Ms. Rogers mentioned that Pam Howard’s family and friends made donations to the Friends of the Library. The gifts came in just under $4,000. The family asked to have a bench put in out front of the Library with a small plaque. Ms. Rogers will let the Library Board know the Selctboard approved this request.
Hooper Institute: Ms. Rebecca (Becky) Whippie provided the following report for the period of October 20 to November 17, 2016:
Eloise Clark: The 5th grade has been working on Soils Unit. The 6th grade has been working on the Forestry Unit. During “flex” time, mid-day students have volunteered as an elective to help out with the harvest at the WES garden with Eloise. They harvested 104 pounds of butternut squash and donated that to the Food Shelf. Out of a total of 240-250 pounds of butternut squash about 150 pounds has or will be used in the WES lunch program. Also a 5 pound bucket of Brussel sprouts were picked and have already been eaten in the lunch program in just one day. They also have been closing up the gardens.
Becky Whippie: Pre-Kindergarten – In the last month they talked about earthworms, pumpkin parts, mammal definition. They have been doing an activity called “Red squirrel vs grey squirrel” and studying Ladybug life cycles.
Kindergarten – They have been studying Pumpkin Science – weighing, measuring, record and drawing what they have picked in the WPS garden. Garden closing activities are being done. Cranberry botany – made cranberry sauce and tasted it.
First Grade – Compost review, adding greens, browns and manure to the mix. One afternoon they did seed saving of garlic, chives and zinnias. They packaged their dried chives for gifts to go home. They cleaned the popcorn bed and got it ready for the spring. Today they peeled and mashed their garden potatoes harvested earlier this fall and ate them.
Second Grade – Cleared and added green materials to corn and green bean beds in the garden to add nutrients to the soil for next spring. Soil sort: Looked for organisms. Looked for sand, silt, clay and gravel and organic/biotic matter.
Third Grade – Tree I.D. challenge used I.D. booklets they made to identify numbered trees in NWS garden; 10 varieties. Some looked to see what they had in their own yards. Harvested and grated carrots, made two carrot cakes together, baked them and tasted the cakes the next day.
Fourth Grade – Visited Walpole Valley Farm with 4-D and Brookfield Farm with 4-M students. Mulched two garden beds. Talked about squash uses, identified different sorts of winter keepers vs summer squash.
Police Department: Police Chief Michael Paquette submitted a chart for the period of October 16, 2016 through November 15, 2016. There were 413 calls for service. They are broken down as follows:
- Public Safety Calls:
Emergency Calls – 35 Administrative – 45 Citizen Assists – 67
- Motor Vehicle Calls:
Accidents – 17 MV Stops – 138 Traffic Safety – 41
- Criminal Investigations:
Drugs/Alcohol – 18 Crimes Against a Person – 25 Crimes Against Property – 17
Chief Paquette talked about the on-going drug activity in the area. Handling cases is very time consuming; they take 80-to-90% of their time. With DARE Programs and police presence they hope it will help educate the youth. Mrs. Pschirrer recommended they talk about having a program with parents to do some drug education. The Police Department acquired the DUI Grant. As a result the motor vehicle stops number is up. This will give them quite a bit of money from the State as the result of collecting fines. The County was awarded a Drug Addiction Grant for over $30,000. It is for all full time departments doing surveillance work except for Keene who received a separate grant; it will start in December. They can add about 150 additional calls for service but for brief, minor issues. The Cub Scouts visited the Police Station and the Girl Scouts will be coming; the children really enjoy this. They sit in the cruisers and get to know the officers are approachable; do not be afraid of them. They had the “Drug Take Back”; many people came to the station to drop off their drugs. The front lobby now has fortified glass; a section of the roof was done. Mr. Rau has been helpful with doing some work. Mr. Colburn has helped with the Diversion Program. Chief Paquette has been talking with Mr. Sam Jacobs at the Middle School. He would like to be able to sit down with a small group of students and have lunch with them. This would be in all the schools including Charlestown and Alstead; some of their own officers would participate. The DARE Program was cancelled for the winter but there might be another one in March. The Police Departments from the five towns are assisting the schools while their resource officer is out. Students are aware of the officers’ presence in the schools.
Mr. Dalessio advised that everyone is doing a great job. Let’s keep up the good work!
Adjournment: Mr. Dalessio adjourned this Staff Meeting at 5:08 PM.
Regina Borden, Recording Secretary